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Report: Dwane Casey, Nick Nurse not on good terms after Raptors coaching change

Dwane Casey, Nick Nurse, Rex Kalamian

FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2016, file photo, Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, center, huddles with assistant coaches Nick Nurse, left, and Rex Kalamian during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, in Auburn Hills, Mich. A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Nick Nurse has agreed to become the next coach of the Toronto Raptors. According to the person who spoke to the AP, Nurse was in the process of completing contract terms and reaching out to staff Tuesday, June 12, 2018. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the hiring. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)


The Raptors fired Dwane Casey after a largely successful tenure and promoted his assistant, Nick Nurse, to head coach. Casey landed on his feet, becoming the Pistons’ head coach and drawing a hefty salary.

So, all good?

Not quite.

Dave Feschuk of The Star:

Multiple NBA sources will tell you the one-time mentor and his long-time assistant have not been on affable terms in the midst of Toronto’s coaching-staff shakeup.
“No love lost between ’em,” said one basketball lifer who would know, speaking of Casey and Nurse.
One league source suggested that on a bench occupied by the defence-first Casey and defensive co-ordinator Rex Kalamian, Nurse’s offence-forward suggestions were never fully heard nor understood.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Did Nurse do anything to undermine Casey? If so, I understand the grudge. If not, Casey shouldn’t blame Nurse for Masai Ujiri wanting to go another direction. Easier said than done, I understand, though.

I’m also interested in the dynamics in Toronto. Though offense got most attention, purely in terms of points scored and allowed per possession, the Raptors improved more defensively than offensively from last season to this season. Now, Casey and Kalamian – who oversaw that defense – are gone. Perhaps, Nurse will take the offense even further now that he’s in charge. But don’t underestimate how risky this shakeup is.