Earlier this week, the word out of Toronto was that new Raptors GM Masai Ujiri was going to retain Dwane Casey as head coach for the upcoming season. However, Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun is now reporting that Masai Ujiri may not bring back Casey as head coach after all, and that the organization might look for a new head coach to start the Masai Ujiri era of basketball in “the 416″:
“I’ve talked to Dwane Casey a couple of times and we’re going to sit down and I will understand what his philosophies are and I will tell him what my philosophies are and I’ll tell him what I think needs to be changed,” Ujiri said. “For me this organization is going to be like this now (hands together) and we will all be on the same page and have the same goals. For me, Dwane Casey has done a great job but I need to sit down with coach and figure out what his philosophies are and what he’s thinking for the future of this team … I need these 2-3 weeks where coach and I are going to figure out whether this thing is going to go forward for the next year. Right now I don’t see any reason why not.”
Casey has finished his second season in Toronto and has posted a lousy 57-91 record over these past two seasons. To be fair, he hasn’t had that great of a team to work with, which is why it might be fair to give him another shot. On the other hand, when a new GM comes in, sometimes cleaning house is the best way to go, and firing Casey would certainly be a part of the “cleaning house” process. One mistake the Raptors shouldn’t make is fire Casey without a good idea of who they want to replace him. If they can’t find a good replacement for this season then they might as well give Casey another shot. On the other hand, if they can find a better coach then they should by all means do it. Brian Shaw for example is still available as is Lionel Hollins. Normally I would say that Toronto wouldn’t be a likely destination for quality coaching candidates like Hollins and Shaw, but given Masai Ujiri’s success with the Nuggets, I think the odds that Ujiri can convince a quality coach to come to Toronto are pretty high, especially if he uses Rudy Gay as bait.
What is for certain is that the Raptors don’t want to take forever on this decision. They need to either aggressively go after Shaw and Hollins right away or they need to come out and say that they are keeping Casey. This middle ground area doesn’t accomplish anything and can actually plant seeds of doubt in the minds of Raptors fans, ticket holders, and players about the capability of Dwane Casey should they hang on to him. The message Ujiri is sending is that they might be able to get a better coach, but Dwane Casey has been alright. Sounds to me like Ujiri is trying to have the best of both worlds. He wants to back Casey in the event that he can’t find a better guy, but also wants to sound like he’s aware that Casey isn’t likely to take this team to the next level. Ujiri needs to make a decision quickly, and not let this thing drag out for 2-3 weeks as he told the Toronto Sun he would.
–Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord
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