The Toronto Raptors’ pivotal offseason has put them under a greater international microscope than they are used to. Not only have they fired head coach Nick Nurse, but they were dealt a major kick in the teeth when they lost out on their preferred head coaching candidate.
After it seemed for weeks like Nurse was going to join the Houston Rockets and Ime Udoka would become the head coach in Toronto, the script has been flipped. Udoka has agreed to be the next head coach in Houston, leaving the Raptors without a coach and Nurse without a spot.
One would think that a coach with a championship ring, three playoff appearances, and just one losing season would fly off the shelf, but Nurse may not land a head coaching opportunity this cycle. In fact, Nurse has just one opening left (barring any postseason tomfoolery) to secure.
The Detroit Pistons don’t appear to be interested in another former Raptors coach, which is understandable, given Dwane Casey’s move to the front office. They have moved to a final round of interviews, and Nurse didn’t appear to make their final trio.
Will former Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse get hired?
The only way Nurse can get an NBA job at this point is hoping that one of the postseason teams falls out of the race in such a pathetic way that the only way forward for them is a regime change. Nurse’s personality might work better on a postseason team instead of a rebuilding project.
Beyond that, his options are looking fairly glum. Perhaps he’ll take a season off to do some television work and then jump back in at a later date? After all, TV is what Tom Thibodeau did (horribly unsuccessfully, mind you) before taking his current job with the Knicks.
Perhaps Nurse might be waiting for the perfect job to become available. Doc Rivers might be on his way out in Philly if they crash out of the postseason, and Jason Kidd is on very thin ice in Dallas. 2024 might be a more realistic timeline for him to jump back in the race.
It’s rare to see a coach like this wither on the vine, but Nurse appears to be a victim of circumstance. Eventually, some team will give him a second HC job. His resume is too good. Will it be this year? Probably not, given how things are going.