Nick Nurse is no longer the coach of the Toronto Raptors. The announcement of Nurse’s dismissal came just before Raptors head honcho Masai Ujiri was scheduled to hold his year-end media session.
“The decision to make a change like this is never arrived at easily or taken lightly, especially when it comes to a person who has been an integral part of this franchise’s most historic accomplishments, and who has been a steady leader through some of our team’s most challenging times,” Ujiri said in a statement. “As we reflect on Nick’s many successes, we thank him and his family, and wish them the best in future.”
“This is an opportunity for us to reset, to refocus, to put into place the personnel and the players who will help us reach our goal of winning our next championship,” Ujiri added.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, former Celtics coach Ime Udoka is a leading candidate in the search for a new Raptors bench boss.
Wojnarowski said, Nurse had one year and $8M-plus left on his deal, sources said.
Former Celtics coach Ime Udoka is expected to be a serious candidate to replace Nurse, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/L15nmpkxVo
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 21, 2023
Nurse has spend five years with the team as head coach in addition to five years as an assistant under Dwayne Casey, now coach of the Detroit Pistons. Nurse coached the team to its first NBA Championship in 2019 and made the playoffs three of the last five years. But, something had to give as the team underperformed this season, missing the playoffs after losing the play-in game to the Chicago Bulls.
Nurse is a highly regarded coach and tactician, and a former NBA Coach of the Year. He is rumoured to be one of the frontrunners for the Houston Rockets head coaching job.