Outside of a glitch of unimaginable proportions, Dwane Casey will be the next head coach of the Raptors.
The longtime NBA assistant went through a 90-minute telephone interview with members of the board of directors of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment on Sunday afternoon, according to sources, and was to have dinner in New York City on Monday with minority owner Larry Tanenbaum.
If nothing untoward came out of those meetings, the 54-year-old Casey could be introduced as early as Tuesday as the successor to Jay Triano and the eighth head coach in the 16-year history of the Toronto franchise.
Terms of Caseyís pending deal were not immediately available.
A former head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves (53-69 overall, 20-20 in 2007 when he was fired), Casey has worked as an assistant for a handful of accomplished NBA head coaches ó George Karl, Nate McMillan and most recently Rick Carlisle in Dallas.
He is known for his ability to institute a consistently good defensive system, an attribute sorely lacking with the Raptors, a team that was statistically the worst defensive team in the NBA last year and one thatís never established a reputation for being hard-nosed or successful at that end of the floor.
He is generally credited with instituting one of the most effective zone defences in the league with the Mavericks, a move that helped them get past Portland, the Lakers, Oklahoma City and Miami en route to the franchiseís first NBA championship.
Casey also should arrive just days before Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo reaches another watershed mark in the rebuilding process of a team coming off a 22-60 2010-11 and a third playoff-free spring in a row.
Colangelo and members of his staff conducted their final pre-draft workouts in the New York City area, getting a look at 6-11 Czech forward Jan Vesely in a workout for a group of teams Sunday and putting 6-9 forward-centre Bismack Biyombo, a Congolese 18-year-old who played last season in Spain, through a session on their own Monday.
With so much indecision above them in the draft ó Cleveland has the first and fourth picks sandwiched around Minnesota at No. 2 and Utah at No. 3 ó itís been impossible for the Raptors to get a firm grasp on who might be available at their choice.
They have, according to league sources, made efforts to move up to No. 2 but donít have a good match with Minnesota and have narrowed their list of draft hopefuls to about four.
That group would include Kentucky guard Brandin Knight, Lithuanian centre Jonas Valanciunas, San Diego State swingman Kawhi Leonard and Biyombo with Vesely and Connecticut guard Kemba Walker as fallback possibilities.
Meanwhile, there was no word on which ó if any ó of the current Raptors assistant coaches may join Casey in Toronto when their contracts expire at the end of June.
Casey has had a long-standing relationship with Toronto assistant Micah Nori but itís unclear how close he is to any of P.J. Carlisemo, Alex English or Scott Roth. Only Carlesimo is under contract to the Raptors next season but heís been conspicuously absent from much of the pre-draft workout process and his future with the team is very much in doubt.