Raptors fire coach Casey after National Basketball Association playoff ouster

Raptors have plenty of offseason decisions to make

The Raptors fired Dwane Casey in a move that seemed expected. "I saw everything he did here".

Under Casey, the Raptors won four Atlantic Division titles and advanced to the playoffs in five consecutive seasons.

Before this year, Masai Ujiri had three obvious windows when he could have fired head coach Dwane Casey, and he would have had obvious cause to do so.

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"We're not saying that this roster is flawless, there are things we have to do, there are things I have to do to get better, taking responsibility ... it's not something that I can change today, sometimes it takes two months, sometimes it takes one year, sometimes it takes two years, that's just the nature of how the cap works out, how the National Basketball Association works", he said. "A listener, a learner, a performer and a real person". "We didn't always see eye to eye, but he let me be me". I know what we've accomplished. "We'll do a thorough job".

Ujiri said a few times on Friday that he hoped Casey would be celebrated for all that he has done here. Casey had one year remaining on a three-year, $18 million dollar extension he received in June, 2016. Ujiri insisted he had not yet made up his mind at that point, but multiple sources said it was decided days ago that it was all but inevitable that a change was going to be made. "Obviously some of them will get interviews".

After Toronto's playoff exit last spring, Ujiri demanded a "culture reset", leading a greater emphasis on ball movement, depth, and 3-point shooting. When he took over in 2013, Ujiri could have said he wanted to make his own hire to ensure synergy between the front office and the coaching staff. "As a team, we are constantly trying to grow and improve in order to get to the next level", said Raptors President Masai Ujiri. With DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka all locked up with huge contracts through at least the 2019-2020 season, the franchise could easily be stuck in playoff purgatory centered around a core that, to this point, has been lackluster in the postseason under Casey.

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"Case is one of the best coaches I've ever had", Lowry told ESPN.

Still, Lowry was dejected by the team's playoff performance, calling it a "wasted year" after a third straight elimination at the hands of James and the Cavs. "That was our goal".

Casey bristled a day later at any suggestion that the Raptors had been outcoached, and while it's true the star players didn't quite say that, there was certainly a suggestion of that in their words. "That's the mountain this organization has to climb".

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