Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse calls out reporting in Nate Bjorkgren story

TAMPA, FLORIDA - APRIL 21: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - APRIL 21: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

As if Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors didn’t have enough problems to deal with within their own camp, they now have to field questions surrounding a former assistant in Indiana Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren. After leaving Toronto to take his first HC job with Indiana, he might be out after just one season due to some very unsavory reports.

In addition to the fact the Pacers currently are ninth in the Eastern Conference, Bleacher Report and Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Bjorkgren has a bit of a prickly personality that can be tough to relate to. Bjorkgren, per B/R, can be so tough to get along with that TJ Warren, who played under him in Phoenix, requested a trade as soon as he was hired.

Nurse, who coached alongside Nurse in the G League and developed a friendship with him, hit back at the reports, hinting that they might not be properly sourced and contain a ton of inaccuracies.

Nurse said that he doesn’t like the fact that many of the quotes in the article are anonymously sourced. He also added that the Raptors-centric piece of the report was a “bald-faced lie” and even questioned the journalistic integrity of the reporter.

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse is irritated with the Nate Bjorkgren story.

The piece Nurse took issue was with was the description of Bjorkgren as a “politician’s chief of staff” that would prevent coaches and players from holding conversations with Nurse that he didn’t approve first. If this is true, it would be the complete opposite picture of the man Raptors players heaped praise on at every turn.

Kyle Lowry described Bjorkgren as a “happy-go-lucky” guy that the Raptors fed off of, while Pascal Siakam called Bjorkgren a “great guy to have” and a “great coach.” Perhaps he’s just wilting under the pressure in Indiana? This big of an about-face in one season seems hard to comprehend.

Nurse has done a tremendous job of getting his assistants promotions. Following the Bjorkgren deal, Chris Finch left his role as Nurse’s top assistant to become the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. While Finch is helping turn Minnesota around, Bjorkgren is struggling in Indiana, and Nurse is trying to stick up for his guy.

Nurse is clearly sticking up for his friend, and while it’s entirely possible that Bjorkgren both isn’t gelling with the locker room and is struggling from an on-court perspective, Nurse wants to make sure that nothing defamatory about Bjorkgren comes out. Could he be laying the groundwork for Bjorkgren to return to the Raptors bench this year?

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