The Toronto Raptors fired coach Dwane Casey on Friday, the team announced.
Casey, the most successful coach in franchise history, lost his job after consecutive second-round playoff sweeps to the Cleveland Cavaliers and being named the coach of the year in a vote of the NBA’s 30 coaches.
“After careful consideration, I have decided this is a very difficult but necessary step the franchise must take,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement. “As a team, we are constantly trying to grow and improve in order to get to the next level. We celebrate everything Dwane has done for the organization, we thank him, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future. He was instrumental in creating the identity and culture of who we are as a team, and we are so proud of that.”
Casey had one year left on his contract, worth $6.5 million.
The Raptors set a franchise record with 59 regular-season victories and earned the East’s No. 1 seed before advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 4-2 series victory over the Washington Wizards.
The Raptors’ record improved in six of seven seasons under Casey. He could quickly become a top candidate for the coaching jobs available, including in Detroit.
“Case is one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” point guard Kyle Lowry told ESPN. “We didn’t always see eye to eye, but he let me be me. He allowed me to go out and express myself as a player, and both DeMar [DeRozan] and I ended up becoming four-time All-Stars and leaders here. He was huge for my growth as a man and an NBA player.
“They made a decision — and for me, as a leader in the organization — it’s my job to support the decision that Masai and [general manager] Bobby [Webster] made.”
Lowry said the Raptors did a lot of things well under Casey.
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SOURCE: ESPN, Adrian Wojnarowski