NEW YORK — Dwane Casey has been named one of three finalists for the NBA’s coach of the year award.
Too bad the nomination came five days after he was fired by the Toronto Raptors. Casey was named a finalist for the award on Wednesday night along with Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
The 61-year-old Casey was the most successful coach in Raptors history, rewriting the culture of what had been one of the worst teams in the league.
He led Toronto to four Atlantic Division titles in five seasons, and three consecutive 50-win seasons, and the Raptors rewrote the franchise record book in this past regular-season, winning 59 games and earning the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time.
Casey was fired after the Cleveland Cavaliers swept Toronto out of the Eastern Conference semifinal for the second straight year.
After Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri fired Casey on Friday, he addressed media while fighting tears.
"I hope coach Casey gets coach of the year because he deserves it," Ujiri said. "I saw everything he did here. I saw the job he did this year. He deserves it."
Toronto guard Fred VanVleet was nominated for sixth man of the year as the NBA’s best bench player. Former Raptor Lou Williams is also under consideration after a successful season with the Los Angeles Clippers, as is Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets.