Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Report: Pistons hire Dwane Casey, Raptors search down to Nurse and Messina

Good for him!

The only coaching vacancy remaining belongs to the Toronto Raptors, and its their out-bound head coach filling the penultimate one.

The Detroit Pistons are hiring Dwane Casey to be their next head coach, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Casey has agreed to a five-year deal with the team.

Casey was identified as a target for the Pistons early on as they look to reshape their organization from the president’s role on down, meeting with the team’s search committee in late May and then with Pistons ownership this week. In the 61-year-old Casey, the Pistons find a proven culture-builder who helped take the Raptors to heights the franchise had never reached before – he is the team’s all-time winningest coach in both the regular season and the playoffs, helped the team improve in five out of six successive seasons, was their first coach to be behind the bench for an All-Star Game, and will likely be named Coach of the Year later this month. His departure from Toronto was a difficult decision for Raptors president Masai Ujiri, and Casey being favored for a new role quickly is hardly surprising, although he could have stayed at home earning $6.5 million and waiting for another opportunity next summer.

Detroit is not a perfect situation, with no general manager in place and a tough cap sheet the next few seasons, but Casey joined an awkward situation in Toronto initially, too. He should be able to get the most out of a talented Blake Griffin-Andre Drummond frontcourt, and his ability to get more than the sum of the parts out of a roster should put Detroit in a position to compete for a playoff spot next season. There aren’t a ton of options for Detroit to improve the roster in a meaningful way this summer – a healthy Reggie Jackson would help, as would another wing – but Casey is a good start to their retooling.

Best of luck to Casey in Detroit, save for three or four games a year.

The Raptors’ own search, meanwhile, is believed to have been narrowed down to just Nick Nurse and Ettore Messina, according to reports from Josh Lewenberg of TSN and Marc Stein of the New York Times.