The Toronto Raptors have turned to a familiar face to fill their head coaching vacancy. Toronto hired from within, naming assistant coach Nick Nurse the next lead man.
According to ESPN, Nurse is finalizing contract details with the team that finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference in 2017-18. Nurse spent five years on the bench as an assistant, and he has accumulated head coaching experience in the G League.
Nurse replaces Dwane Casey, who was just named the new head coach of the Detroit Pistons. Casey led the team to 59 wins last season, but his inability to get past LeBron James in the East signaled his downfall.
"I've learned a lot about preparation from [Casey], the seriousness of attention to detail," Nurse told Sportsnet in February. "He's been around the league a long time, and he's seen it all.”
Meanwhile, Nurse inherits a win-now roster that does not maintain much flexibility. The team will bring back a star-studded backcourt highlighted by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas are also under contract.
The team will not have a first-round draft pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, as they relinquished that pick, along with DeMarre Carroll and his sizeable salary, last season to gain salary cap flexibility.
The Raptors will continue to jockey with the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers for Eastern Conference supremacy, as both squads are expected to improve next season.
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