Raptors to ‘Nurse’ their wounds after Casey firing
NICK Nurse spent almost three decades paying his coaching dues, toiling with teams in Europe, and college basketball.
The chance he’s long coveted has finally arrived.
Nurse has agreed to become the next coach of the Toronto Raptors, a source said on Tuesday. Nurse will replace his former boss, Dwane Casey — under whom he spent the past five seasons as an assistant. Casey was fired after the Raptors were swept out of the second round of this year’s playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Nurse and the Raptors were completing contract terms on Tuesday, according to the source who spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced. ESPN first reported the hiring.
The move seems to suggest there will be at least some continuity between what the Raptors have been doing and what they’ll do on his watch. Toronto went 59-23 this season, the best record in the Eastern Conference and second-best in the NBA behind only Houston — and Nurse was in charge of the offense, led by All-Star guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
The move comes a month after Casey was let go and a day after he was hired by the Detroit Pistons as their new coach. The Raptors always raved about Casey’s work ethic, and Nurse took note.
“I’ve learned a lot about preparation from him, the seriousness of attention to detail,” Nurse told Canada’s Sportsnet in February. “He’s been around the league a long time and he’s seen it all. That’s the biggest thing. We have to prepare the players and can’t leave any stone unturned. We have to know everything the other team is doing and really work hard and grind it out.”
Nurse graduated from Northern Iowa and got his first head coaching position at Grand View College when he was only 23 — some 27 years ago. He spent more than a decade in Europe, and was an assistant coach for Britain at the 2012 London Olympics.