One month into their coaching search, Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors have reportedly reached a decision on who will be the team’s next head coach.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Nick Nurse will be the franchise’s next head coach.
Earlier this week there were reports that Ujiri & Co. had narrowed their list down to two candidates: San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, and Nurse.
Other candidates during the coaching search included fellow Raps assistant Rex Kalamian, former Raptors 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse — who accepted a coaching position with the Memphis Grizzlies over the weekend — as well as EuroLeague coach Sarunas Jasikevicius. Mike Budenholzer was considered a top target and interviewed with the Raptors before accepting the head coaching gig with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Nurse, who won two D-League titles as a coach before coming to the NBA, has spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach with the Raptors under Dwane Casey, who was fired following the Raptors’ second round loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This past season Nurse was credited with playing a major role in overhauling the team’s offence, finding ways to move the ball more and manufacture three-point shot opportunities.
The Raptors went from dead-last in the NBA in assists in 2016-17 (18 per game) to sixth (24 per game), and from 21st in three-pointers made per game (8.8) to fourth (11.8). The team also went from the NBA’s 10th-highest scoring offence the prior season to fourth in 2017-18.
After Casey was named the Detroit Pistons new bench boss on Monday, Toronto was the only NBA franchise without a head coach.