It’s the end of an era, as the Toronto Raptors have fired their head coach, Dwane Casey. Under Casey, the Raptors have had 3 50-win seasons – a mark that was never reached before his arrival in Toronto.
Masai Ujiri said in a press release “I have decided this is a very difficult but necessary step the franchise must take”. The decision to fire Casey comes after the very disappointing end to an otherwise historic season for the Raptors.
It was clear that after their third straight exit to the Cavaliers that something needed to change within the franchise. But the decision to fire a coach who led you to a 59-23 record and an overall .573-win percentage in the last 7 seasons leaves many asking, why?
Anyone that is anti-Dwane Casey will point at his playoff record and perhaps there is some validity there. Within the last 5 years this team has gone 21-30 in the post season. While I agree our regular season success has not translated into the post season, our failure to move forward has less to do with Dwane Casey and more to do with LeBron James.
Newsflash: Every Eastern Conference team that has gone up against LeBron James in the past seven seasons has lost to him, does that mean that every coach that couldn’t get passed the best player in our generation should be fired? Absolutely not.
I wrote about the teams that LeBron has left decimated on route to his Eastern Conference dominance and at this moment it seems the Raptors are headed to Lebron’s graveyard.
Ultimately, you can’t blame Casey for the tip-in that Valanciunas couldn’t make at the end of game 1, or Lowry scoring 5 points in an elimination game. DeRozan was also a shell of himself as his 3 worse +/- games of the season came in this series. And don’t even get me started on Ibaka.
In all likelihood, DeRozan is the only ‘safe’ player on the Raptors, as he should be. Moving the contracts of the rest of our core will be a tough task for Masai, but one that will definitely need to be addressed if we have any hopes of improving next season.
It doesn’t matter which coach you bring in next season; this current roster needs to be reconstructed. I expect this move to be the first of many as the Raptors look to retool rather than rebuild.