The Toronto Raptors have been signaling that major changes were coming to the club after the disappointing 41-41 campaign that Nick Nurse and the roster cooked up, and Masai Ujiri did not waste any time fooling around. Just two weeks into the offseason, Ujiri changed the course of the franchise.
Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that Nurse is no longer the head coach of the Raptors, bringing an end to a five-season tenure that helped Toronto finally reach the championship mountaintop many previously thought insurmountable for this franchise.
Wojnarowski reported that Ime Udoka, who spent this season without a job following his dismissal as head coach of the Boston Celtics, has been mentioned as a name that could step in to replace Nurse. Toronto is also expected to look at its top internal candidates.
Toronto Raptors fire head coach Nick Nurse
Nurse, who won Coach of the Year in 2019, finished his unparalleled Toronto tenure with a 227-163 record and a 58% winning percentage. He made the playoffs three times, with the two seasons in which he missed the postseason being the 2020-21 sabbatical in Tampa and this previous cursed season.
Nurse’s legacy looks a bit complicated in the eyes of some Raptors fans. On the one hand, he did what no other Raptors coach could do and got this team to the promised land. On the other, he never advanced to the Conference Finals without Kawhi Leonard and won just one playoff series without him.
Nurse will likely be considered a frontrunner for the Houston Rockets’ vacancy, a move that will give him quite a challenge in terms of rebuilding the roster. Swapping out Nurse for Udoka might not please everyone, but Ujiri doesn’t seem worried about the backlash.
While this is certainly not how many around the league or the team thought this season or this era of Raptors basketball would end, Nurse’s name will forever be heralded in the annals of Canadian basketball history. For that, we extend a hearty thank you his way.