Raptors fire coach Dwane Casey

Lawrence Cooper
May 12, 2018

Players have yet to officially weigh in on the firing of Dwane Casey, but team president Masai Ujiri said when he called up his all-star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan to tell them the news, they were emotional because of the bond that has been built up between them and Casey. He leaves Toronto as the team's most successful coach boasting an overall record of 320 wins to 238 losses.

Despite the Raptors' huge regular-season success in 2017-18, however, it's a move that was made after being swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs.

Although the man who has been in charge of the Raptors for five years would say that the timing of the decision was reached organically, and after careful consideration, and not out of any desire to have it slip by unnoticed, there are evident reasons for why Ujiri might want to have this particular move pass by without a whole lot of examination.

"Today was a really hard day for us and our organization", said Raptors president Masai Ujiri, who informed Casey he was being relieved of his duties on Friday. "I know where we started here, I know what we've accomplished, I know the basketball world how they feel about us and respect us and what we're doing, so it's part of the territory", Casey said at the time".

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According to the Canadian Press, "Casey was sacked two days after winning the Michael H. Goldberg coach of the year award, which is handed out by the National Basketball Coaches Association". Toronto posted a franchise-record 59 wins this season to earn the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but after beating Washington in the first round, Toronto sustained a humbling 4-0 sweep by LeBron James' Cavaliers in the conference semifinals.

So the Raptors fired Casey, praising him on his way out the door. He also led the Raps to the postseason every year for the last five years. A media panel voted separately for the NBA's coach of the year award, which will be announced June 25. Although it seems unfair to fire Casey and not give him another year, the blunder of being swept and losing 10 straight playoff games to the same team invites unwanted questions. Those are the kind of results that can get coaches fired. "We didn't always see eye to eye, but he let me be me".

On Wednesday, Casey insisted "the gap is closing" between the Raptors and Cavaliers.

Ujiri said a few times on Friday that he hoped Casey would be celebrated for all that he has done here. "That's the mountain this organization has to climb".

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