Ujiri decides to retain Casey as Raps coach

The Raptors have chosen to keep coach Dwane Casey around. (Canadian Press)

After a couple of weeks to mull things over, new Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri has decided to retain the services of Dwane Casey as the team’s head coach.

“I’m excited about moving forward and growing this team with coach Casey,” Ujiri said in a statement.

Casey shares Ujiri’s enthusiasm about the chance for the pair to to work together.

“I am excited to work with Masai and his new team!,” Casey told sportsnet.ca via text message. “He has a vision and a burning desire to build a program where we are not just sneaking into the playoffs, but to build a program that we can expect to be there.

“I am excited to continue to develop our core pieces and to work with Masai to build a winner grounded in a defense first mentality.”

Casey was hired by Ujiri’s predecessor, Bryan Colangelo, so there were questions surrounding his future in Toronto.

At Ujiri’s introductory press conference on June 4 he said he would have philosophical discussions with Casey surrounding the team’s future before making a decision on Casey’s job status. Clearly, the two were able to find common ground.

Ujiri has already begun to put his imprint on the team as assistant general manager Ed Stefanski was let go almost immediately upon his arrival although he refused to comment on any moves at that point.

“I’m going to keep (any changes) in house for now,” Ujiri said. “There are some people we are still evaluating.”

The Raptors also announced the hiring of Bobby Webster as the club’s vice president of basketball management and strategy on Wednesday while reports indicated that Nuggets scouting coordinator Dan Tolzman was also coming on board.

Last season, the Raptors finished 10th in the Eastern Conference after recording a 34-48 record under Casey, his second season at the helm.

Casey is in the final year of a contract extension signed following the 2011-12 campaign.

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