The Toronto Raptors got their offseason started off on the wrong foot, as they missed out on hiring their top Nick Nurse replacement. After weeks of Ime Udoka rumors, Toronto simply could not seal the deal and name him the next head coach.
Before the Raptors even managed to curate a list of candidates, Udoka was off to the Houston Rockets. While they are one of the worst teams in the league, Udoka said that he is all-in on joining a project he can rebuild from the ground up instead of a rigid collection of stars like Toronto has.
Hiring Udoka was not a slam dunk, as the Raptors would have had to answer a bunch of PR questions surrounding his controversial exit from Boston, but it was a bad look for the Raptors not even to get a chance to interview with their alleged top coaching choice.
According to Marc Stein in his latest Substack piece (subscription required), the Rockets had some interest in Nurse as a coaching candidate, but the four-year, $28.5 million deal they offered to Udoka was quickly accepted. Tilman Fertitta was paying top dollar for his next coach, and the timing of the whole process may have screwed Nurse.
More Raptors news
- Canadian native and Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks, who was linked to the Raptors in a trade at the deadline, has been informed that Memphis is not going to retain him under any circumstances. With his scoring falling and his persona as the NBA’s most-hated heel in full bloom, will the Raptors’ interest in him remain strong?
- The latest odds from Odds Shark hint at Brooks potentially joining Toronto. At +190, they are slight favorites for his services as compared to the +200 Rockets. The Pistons, Pacers, Jazz, and Kings all clock in at +500, with the Lakers a distant seventh at +1500.
- Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid was named the 2022-23 NBA MVP, preventing Denver Nuggets stud Nikola Jokic from winning his third award in a row. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo finished in third place, with Celtics forward Jayson Tatum coming in what was a very firm fourth place.
- The New York Knicks managed to tie up their series with the Miami Heat at 1-1, while LeBron James and his new-look Los Angeles Lakers team managed to pull off a somewhat surprising upset win against the Golden State Warriors in their first postseason meeting.