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Toronto Raptors select Memphis Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic as new head coach

Rajakovic will step into the NBA Head Coaching role for the first time in his career.

Memphis Grizzlies All Access Practice Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

The wait is over! On Saturday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Toronto Raptors would hire Darko Rajakovic as the franchise’s next head coach. Rajakovic’s resume includes head coaching for the NBA G League, and assistant gigs in Oklahoma City and Phoenix before his most recent gig with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Toronto took their time picking a new candidate, and as of last week had multiple candidates in the final round along with Rajakovic. It was reported that Toronto was also considering Sergio Scariolo, Charles Lee, and Kenny Atkinson.

Yet, it was Darko who stood out and became the choice for Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster.

The Raptors were the last team with a head coaching vacancy, so with this hire, there are no more head coaching jobs left in the NBA.

Darko Rajakovic, from Serbia, was most recently the head assistant coach on the Memphis Grizzlies. According to reports, The Raptors wanted to pick someone who would be able to efficiently coach the team no matter what path they end up taking in the offseason.

There is much up in the air for the Toronto Raptors right now. With many of the veteran contracts in limbo right now, and free agency looming, this team could go in two very separate directions as we head into next season. In hiring Rajakovic, the Raptors hope that he can adjust whether they are trying to contend with a similar roster to last season OR if they go the route of development.

The initial feeling around Raptors fans and media as we get to know Darko Rajakovic is that the offence is going to look a lot different under his leadership. He also has a history in developing playmakers and guards, and is apparently an “expert” when it comes to the pick and roll. He seems to be an extremely intelligent basketball mind and is well liked by players, coaches and fans alike.

Stay tuned in the coming days for an official Toronto Raptors announcement, assistant coaching decisions and more as we start a new era with Head Coach Darko Rajakovic.