The Toronto Raptors fired head coach Dwayne Casey Friday, just days after the team was swept out of the playoffs by Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second-straight year.
The loss is as bitter as they come for the Raptors, who earned the top seed in the East for the playoffs after posting the conference’s best regular season record. Ironically, Casey was recently named the he National Basketball Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year and is the likely candidate to win the NBA’s Coach of the Year.
“After careful consideration, I have decided this is a very difficult but necessary step the franchise must take,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement via ESPN. “As a team, we are constantly trying to grow and improve in order to get to the next level. We celebrate everything Dwane has done for the organization, we thank him, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future. He was instrumental in creating the identity and culture of who we are as a team, and we are so proud of that.”
Casey, who had one year left on his contract worth a reported $6.5 million, authored a long list of accomplishments in his seven seasons at the helm. He won 57.3 percent of his games, racked up three consecutive 50-plus-win seasons and made the playoffs five straight times. And this season was easily his finest. The Raptors were the NBA ‘s second most efficient team and their 59 wins were the most in franchise history.