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- On Friday the Toronto Raptors announced that head coach Dwane Casey had been fired after the team’s third straight year of losing to LeBron James in the playoffs.
- While the Raptors’ postseason run was cut short, Casey was considered by his peers to be the best coach in basketball this year and led Toronto to a franchise-record 59 wins.
- Across the league, players, coaches, and personalities all expressed their feelings on Casey’s abrupt exit.
After seven years at the helm of the Toronto Raptors, head coach Dwane Casey was fired on Friday, just days after other coaches voted him to as the coach of the year.
It was a quick turn of events that left Casey as something of a fall guy for the Raptors’ postseason shortcomings. Despite the most successful regular season in the history of the franchise, Toronto once again couldn’t escape the second round of the playoffs and was dispatched by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the third consecutive season.
Despite the Raptors success this season, the move doesn’t come as a total surprise. Toronto has stalled out in the same place for three straight seasons, and after yet another unsuccessful (even embarassing) loss at the hands of LeBron James, it is understandable that the front office would believe a shake-up was necessary to make a run.
Still, after such a winning year for the team, it is worth wondering what better options the Raptors believe they can find on the coaching market than a man who has led the team to all three of the franchise’s 50-win seasons.
Across the NBA world, players, coaches, and media members expressed their feelings on the abrupt ousting of the Toronto coach.
Ex-players Richard Jefferson and Tracy McGrady both spoke against the decision on ESPN’s “The Jump,” with Jefferson saying bluntly, “This is a mistake.”
Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens called the decision “disappointing,” and referred to Casey as a “role model” and “as good of a person as they come.”
Brad Stevens calls Dwane Casey's firing "disappointing" and says Casey is a role model and as good of a person as they come. pic.twitter.com/UdYvJQoaOK
— Tim and Sid (@timandsid) May 11, 2018
On Twitter, other personalities from around the league shared their feelings on Casey’s exit.
— Bismack Biyombo (@bismackbiyombo) May 11, 2018
WOW WOW WOW oh WOOOOOWWWWWW. Well I hope the @Raptors are bringing in the ghost of Red Auerbach. Or maybe Pat Riley, Phil Jackson.. Masai Ujiri is as good as they come, he must be playing chess with us right now..
— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) May 11, 2018
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) May 11, 2018
So Dwane Casey is going to be unemployed when he most likely receives his Coach of the Year award in June. This tops George Karl – whom Casey once worked for in Seattle – getting dumped in 2013 after winning COY in Denver. At least Karl got the trophy & the press conference…
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) May 11, 2018
While it was far from an ideal end to the 2018 NBA year for Casey, with the success he had throughout his career with the Raptors, there’s little doubt his services will be in high demand before the start of the 2018-19 season.