Over the last two days, word has come from Dwane Casey himself confirming a return to the bench for the Raptors as their head coach. I’m sure everyone will be reasonable about this news.
You can listen to today’s audio with Naylor & Landsberg at TSN 1050 here. And from yesterday, Casey spoke with the Fan 590’s Jeff Blair about the team’s “culture reset” and how things stand with the Raptors. All in all, I’d say Casey is doing his due diligence for his role in Toronto’s future. He also remains intensely likeable, even if you happen to disagree with his strategic decisions. (Please keep that in mind before you begin blasting away in the comment section.)
The Raptors are coming off a 51-31 season that saw them get swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the post-season, after almost kind of sort of blowing it versus the Milwaukee Bucks in the first. In the microcosm of the playoffs, Casey’s Raptors squad did not always look their sharpest. Calls for his job, which have come for most of the past three seasons (or maybe four? maybe all six?), have intensified. Despite the aforementioned 50-win season, and the run of success Casey has supervised for the past four years, many still think he should be fired. Next season will be Casey’s seventh with the Raptors.
I wrote about Casey’s situation here. Basically, I can understand the desire to fire him and move the team in a new direction. Assuming Kyle Lowry returns (and presumably the team wants him back), and DeMar DeRozan stays put (a certainty), then Casey is the guy to jettison so as to at least make it appear like change is happening. Fortunately — or unfortunately, depending on who you ask — Masai Ujiri is not one to make ostensible moves. His decisions have a long arc, and are usually based on some concrete footing. So, while firing Casey may make sense for some short term optical gain, it opens up all kinds of issues that would need to be addressed.
Said issues include: who is a better (realistically hire-able) coach than Casey right now? Could someone else actually maximize this roster in a different way? What will this roster even look like come next season? These are just some of the Ujiri has likely already asked himself in the process of moulding the Raptors for next year. Again, it’s a long process.
And now I ask, in the most genteel spirit possible, please tell us what you think about the return of Dwane Casey.