Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey says recent comments from DeMarre Carroll about locker-room dysfunction are “overblown” and maintains that his team was unified this past season.
“I would challenge anyone to say when the Toronto Raptors stepped on the floor, that we were not a team,” Casey said Wednesday afternoon on The Andrew Walker Show on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. “That we didn’t go out there and fight for each other, pull for each other and scrap for each other every night on the schedule.
“Whatever DeMarre was talking about, it was overblown,” he added.
Carroll, whose injury riddled two-year tenure with the Raptors ended when he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets earlier this month, made headlines when he told the National Post’s Ryan Wolstat that there were problems among his Raptors teammates.
“This year, I feel like a lot of guys didn’t trust each other, and a lot of guys, they didn’t feel like other guys could produce or (be) given the opportunity,” Carroll said. “There was a lot of lack of trust on our team, so that’s what hindered us from going (as far as they wanted to go).”
Casey refuted that Wednesday.
“I don’t know if it was sour grapes of someone going out the door,” said the coach. “I don’t think it was, because to us DeMarre was a good guy and we wish him well. But to his point, I don’t know how the conversation went with the article, but we have no different locker-room issues or arguments than any other team in the NBA. At the end of the day when we walk out on the floor, I felt like we were a team. I don’t think our offensive system or defensive system had anything to do with whatever he’s talking about.”
The Raptors finished the regular season with a 51-31 record, third in the Eastern Conference, but were swept in four games by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs. President Masai Ujiri said at his end-of-season news conference that the team needed a cultural change and has since signed C.J. Miles, traded Carroll to the Nets, Cory Joseph to the Indiana Pacers and saw Patrick Patterson depart via free agency to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“Our whole organization is not broke but we want to make sure we get that edge back, get that two-by-four back on our shoulder where we are hungry again,” Casey said. “I thought last year from a media standpoint, team standpoint, playing standpoint, coaching standpoint, front office standpoint, we got a little complacent. A little soft, so to speak. We’ve got to get that edge back to compete for a championship.”