The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have added Nick Nurse to Dwane Casey’s coaching staff. Nurse joins the Raptors from the NBA D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Nurse, 45, coached the Valley Vipers to a 59-41 mark the past two seasons and the 2012-13 NBA D-League championship. Prior to taking the reins in Rio Grande, Nurse coached the Iowa Energy to an overall regular season mark of 124-76 (.620) and the 2010-11 NBA Development League championship. For his accomplishments, Nurse was named the 2010-11 recipient of the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year award.
A three-time NBA Development League All-Star head coach, Nurse led the Energy to back-to-back 37-13 finishes in 2009-10 and 2010-11, setting and then tying the league record for wins in a single season. Nurse led the Energy to two Eastern Conference championships and one Central Division championship.
A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Nurse began his coaching career at the age of 23 when he became the head coach of Grand View College, making him the youngest college basketball coach in the United States. He moved on to an assistant coach position at the University of South Dakota where his teams recorded a 46-14 mark.
Nurse coached in Europe for 11 years starting in 1996, winning nine championships and two Coach of the Year awards while earning six All-Star head coach selections in the British Basketball League. During that time, he also gained coaching experience in Italy, Belgium and the USBL. Additionally, Nurse served as an assistant coach in the 2012 Olympics for the host British National Team.
Nurse holds a career professional coaching record of 459-220 (.676) during the regular season and 76-54 (.585) in the postseason.
Toronto Raptors President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri announced Wednesday that Head Coach Dwane Casey will return for the 2013-14 season.
“I’m excited about moving forward and growing this team with Coach Casey,” said Ujiri.
Casey is in the final year of a contract extension signed following the 2011-12 campaign.
An announcement will be made in the future regarding the club’s assistant coaching staff.
Masai Ujiri is returning to the Raptors as general manager and bringing with him a “passion to win.” He has a lot of work ahead, joining a team that has missed the playoffs for five straight seasons.
Ujiri was introduced Tuesday at Air Canada Centre after his hiring last week. He was an assistant GM with the Raptors for three seasons before leaving for the Denver Nuggets in 2010.
“I love this place,” said Ujiri, the first African-born GM in North America’s four major sports. “I’m pumped. I’m excited. This is a stage that I’ve always wanted in my life.”
Ujiri, who was born in Nigeria, was the NBA executive of the year with the Nuggets. He succeeds Bryan Colangelo, who remains the Raptors’ president in a nonbasketball role.
“It’s going to take patience,” Ujiri said. “It’s going to take will. We’re going to instill passion - a passion to win.”
Reported by the Associated Press
The Toronto Raptors announced Friday that the club has signed Masai Ujiri as its General Manager. Ujiri, 42, was recently named the NBA’s Executive of the Year in his capacity as Executive Vice-President of Basketball Operations for the Denver Nuggets. He replaces Bryan Colangelo, who is now the Raptors’ President.
In his three seasons in Denver, Ujiri built the Nuggets into a team that won a franchise-record 57 games and delivered an NBA-best 38-3 record at home this past season.
A native of Nigeria, and the first African-born GM in the NBA, Ujiri will report to Tim Leiweke, MLSE’s President and CEO. “We feel very lucky to have Masai in our organization. He is a proven judge of talent and we look for him to be a big part of creating a winning atmosphere, leading us to the playoffs and, ultimately, delivering NBA championships for Toronto,” said Leiweke. “I would also like to publicly thank the Kroenke’s in Denver for being such a class organization that they would allow Masai to pursue his dream. They put him first in all of our discussions.”
Ujiri spent three years with the Raptors after joining the team as director of global scouting in 2007. He was elevated to assistant general manager in 2008. Ujiri is thrilled to return to the franchise that first gave him a front office position. “To come back to the Raptors, to live in such a great city, and work in an organization that has committed all the resources necessary to win championships was a huge factor in the decision,” said Ujiri. “I have already developed a great relationship with Tim Leiweke and I can’t wait to get back to Canada to build a team that is poised to take the next step in the NBA.”
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment President and CEO Tim Leiweke announced Tuesday that he has revamped the senior leadership of the Toronto Raptors in preparation for next season. Bryan Colangelo has had his contract extended as the team’s President and will report directly to Mr. Leiweke. The club has also created a new position of General Manager that will have final authority on all basketball-related decisions. At this time, with input from Colangelo, Leiweke is conducting a search to identify candidates and expects to name the new GM in the next 30 days.
“After thorough evaluation and considering all the options, we have concluded that these changes will be in the best interest of the organization,” said Leiweke. “By splitting the roles and having both men report directly to me, we are adding depth to the basketball operations group and giving the Toronto Raptors the best chance of competing for championships in the future. The new GM will inherit a great situation in Toronto, as all of my due diligence around the League indicates that we have a fine, young core and a few key moves will make us a playoff contender next season.”
While the General Manager will have autonomy over basketball decisions, Colangelo will continue to advise Leiweke on basketball-related matters while also broadening his involvement with the business side of the franchise. “The future of this team and this organization excites me more than ever, and I am looking forward to being part of our future success,” said Colangelo. “I will add whatever is necessary to help improve our basketball team while also expanding my efforts to increase brand awareness and influence growth of the game across this great country.”
“Bryan is skilled, knowledgeable and respected across the NBA and will be a resource that we count on to help build the Raptors into Canada’s team,” said Leiweke.
MLSE also announced that Leiweke would move up his official start date from July 1 to June 3 at the suggestion of the Board.
The Toronto Raptors are moving executive Bryan Colangelo out of basketball operations and into a corporate position with the team.
Yahoo! Sports reported Monday that the Raptors are making the move because they are interested in hiring Denver Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri to take over their front office.
Colangelo has run the team’s basketball operations for seven years but the team has only made the playoffs twice during that span and is coming off a 34-48 season.
– Reported by the Sports Xchange
The Toronto Raptors, emboldened by the news that the Sacramento Kings apparently won’t be moving to Seattle, have ramped up their pursuit of Phil Jackson to be their new team president, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Raptors — now being run by former Los Angeles-based sports mogul Tim Leiweke — regarded the Seattle group that was trying to buy the Kings as the biggest threat to preventing Jackson from seriously considering their pitch.
But now that the Kings appear poised to stay in Sacramento instead of being sold to the consortium led by Jackson fan Chris Hansen, sources say that the Raptors will be pursuing Jackson aggressively this week, believing that they rank as Jackson’s most attractive current option for a new career in management now that he can reunite with Leiweke.
One source close to the situation told ESPN.com that Hansen and Jackson have “hit it off,” sparking league-wide speculation that Jackson would be offered the chance to run the new Sonics in Seattle in the Pat Riley-style role he craves. But with a 12-owner committee recommending Monday that the Kings’ move to Seattle be blocked, Toronto’s seemingly long-shot odds of winning the Jackson sweepstakes would figure to have received a boost.
– Reported by Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com
Deron Williams crumpled up his stat sheet and threw it away in disgust. A loss to the lottery-bound Toronto Raptors meant his Brooklyn Nets had lost their chance at earning the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
DeMar DeRozan scored 36 points, Rudy Gay had 26 points and 10 rebounds and the Raptors won their third straight game, never trailing in a 93-87 victory over the Nets on Sunday.
Brooklyn is still going to the playoffs, but could have closed to within one game of Indiana after the Pacers lost 90-80 to the New York Knicks…
Brooklyn can still tie Indiana, but the Pacers would win the tiebreaker because they’re guaranteed to win the Central Division. Brooklyn is assured of second place in the Atlantic…
Amir Johnson had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors, who hadn’t won three straight since a five-game winning streak from Feb. 8 to 19…
Williams scored 30 points, Brook Lopez had 16 and Andray Blatche 15 for the Nets, whose four-game winning streak was snapped…
Former Raptor Reggie Evans had 16 rebounds for the Nets but didn’t take a single shot. … Keith Bogans started for Brooklyn in place of F Gerald Wallace, who missed his second straight game with a sore left heel.
– Reported by Ian Harrison of the Associated Press
Monta Ellis had 22 points and nine assists, and the Milwaukee Bucks secured their first playoff berth in three seasons with a 100-83 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.
Brandon Jennings had 16 points and seven assists, while Larry Sanders added 12 points, nine rebounds and six blocks for Milwaukee, which needed a win and a Miami victory over Philadelphia on Saturday to clinch at least the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Heat beat the 76ers, 106-87.
The win was Milwaukee’s 10th straight over Toronto, its longest active winning streak over any opponent. And it pulled the Bucks within two games of the idle Boston Celtics for the No. 7 seed.
Alan Anderson led Toronto with 14 points off the bench, and Quincy Acy had 13. Rudy Gay, Toronto’s leading scorer with 18.2 points per game, made 1-of-10 shots and matched his season low with four points.
Toronto shot just 36 percent (30 of 83) and had 18 turnovers.
The game wasn’t close after the first quarter, as the Bucks used a 15-4 run late in the period to go up 24. They led 61-42 at halftime behind 14 points and seven assists from Ellis.
– Reported by Erik Brooks of the Associated Press
Greg Monroe scored 24 points, Jose Calderon had 19 points and nine assists against his former team, and the Detroit Pistons snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Toronto Raptors 108-98 on Monday night.
Rodney Stuckey scored 18 points, Jonas Jerebko had 10 of his 15 in the fourth quarter and rookie Khris Middleton added 11 as the Pistons won for just the third time in 19 games.
Rudy Gay scored 34 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 17 and DeMar DeRozan 15 as the Raptors lost for the seventh time in eight games. Toronto was outscored 33-19 in the final quarter…
Before the game, the Pistons announced that forward Jason Maxiell will miss the remainder of the season after surgery to repair a detached retina. Maxiell began complaining of blurry vision last week and didn’t travel with the team for Sunday’s loss at Chicago. He stayed in Detroit to visit a specialist, who diagnosed the injury.
Detroit was also without guard Will Bynum, who sat out with a strained right hand.
Raptors swingman Landry Fields was unavailable because of pain in his right elbow. Fields had surgery on the elbow last November, forcing him to miss 22 games. He skipped Monday’s game to travel to Los Angeles for follow-up testing.
– Reported by Ian Harrison of the Associated Press
Bradley Beal scored 24 points in his return to the lineup, leading the Washington Wizards to a 109-92 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.
Emeka Okafor had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and John Wall added 18 points and 10 assists for Washington. The Wizards, who came in having lost two in a row on the road, won their seventh straight at home and moved into a tie with Toronto for 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Raptors, losers of six of their last seven. Toronto leading scorer Rudy Gay scored 11 points - about seven below his average - while being limited to 26 minutes due to foul trouble.
Toronto, which has lost six of seven, cut a 20-point third-quarter deficit to six twice in the fourth quarter before Washington pulled away.
After missing five straight games, and 11 of 13, with a sprained left ankle, Beal shot 8 for 14 from the field, including a career-high six 3-pointers - on nine attempts - in 30 minutes…
Gay was held to five points in the half and DeMar DeRozan to four, while Valanciunas scored 16 for Toronto.
– Reported by Harvey Valentine of the Associated Press
Rudy Gay and the Toronto Raptors are out of the playoff picture and have just 10 games left before their season ends. That doesn’t mean they’re going to go quietly.
Gay scored 19 of his 21 points during a dominant third quarter and the Raptors ended a five-game skid with a 99-82 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.
Toronto led 46-45 at the break and took control by outscoring the Pistons 23-5 in the first eight minutes of the third period.
DeMar DeRozan also had 21 to help Toronto win a second straight meeting with the Pistons.
”Whatever he drank at halftime, he needs to keep drinking it,” coach Dwane Casey said of Gay, who was 7 for 11 from the floor in the third.
”Something clicked at halftime to get him going.” …
Amir Johnson added 20 points, including 10 during the second period that helped the Raptors take the lead for good.
Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Kyle Lowry added 11 assists…
Jonas Jerebko scored 20 points to lead the Pistons, who also got 17 from rookie Andre Drummond in their eighth straight home loss. Detroit made just six field goals in the third and often couldn’t seem to stop Gay once he got hot.
– Reported by the Associated Press
Gerald Henderson is enjoying the best streak of his four-year NBA career, and the Charlotte Bobcats are playing better, too.
Henderson turned in another solid all-around game, Byron Mullens scored 25 points and the Bobcats beat the Toronto Raptors 107-101 on Wednesday night to win consecutive games for the first time since mid-November.
Henderson scored 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting and added seven rebounds and five assists. The soon-to-be restricted free agent is averaging 22.7 points on 50 percent shooting in his last seven games, including a 35-point performance in a win over Boston on March 12.
But he’s more willing to talk about the team’s recent improvement than his own personal accomplishments.
”I think it’s just us maturing,” Henderson said. ”I think that’s a big deal. We’ve been in a lot of situations where we haven’t gotten it done in the fourth quarter but we have recently, so that’s good.”
With the Raptors keying on him in the final period, Henderson played the role of distributor and the Bobcats leaned heavily on Mullens and Ben Gordon down the stretch.
– Reported by Steve Reed of the Associated Press
The Miami Heat equaled the second-longest winning streak in NBA history, pulling away in the fourth quarter Sunday to beat the Toronto Raptors 108-91 for their 22nd consecutive victory.
LeBron James had 22 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, Dwyane Wade added 24 points and nine assists, and Ray Allen scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for the defending NBA champions.
Chris Bosh finished with 18 points as the Heat tied the 2007-08 Houston Rockets for the second-longest winning streak in NBA history. The longest is 33 games, set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
Miami will try to move into sole possession of second on Monday when it visits the Boston Celtics - who ended the Rockets’ run five years ago…
Rudy Gay scored 27 and Amir Johnson had 18 points and 18 rebounds as the Raptors lost their 11th straight against Miami, extending their longest active losing streak against a single opponent.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 18 points, and Terrence Ross and DeMar DeRozan each had 12 for the Raptors, whose last victory over the Heat was a 111-103 home win on Jan. 27, 2010 - when Bosh still played for Toronto and James was in Cleveland.
– Reported by Ian Harrison of the Associated Press
Even though playoff contention may be slipping out of reach for the Toronto Raptors, Amir Johnson isn’t about to slow down.
Johnson had 12 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, and Rudy Gay scored 28 points as the Raptors beat the Charlotte Bobcats 92-78 on Friday night.
”That was a heck of an effort by Amir Johnson,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. ”I can’t sing his praises enough.”
Toronto drew to within 7 1/2 games of Milwaukee for the final playoff spot in the East after the Bucks lost at home to Miami, the Heat’s 21st straight win. The Raptors host Miami on Sunday.
Joey Dorsey was the last Toronto player to record 20 rebounds, doing it April 11, 2011, at Milwaukee…
Gerald Henderson, coming off a career-best 35-point performance in the Bobcats’ 100-74 victory over Boston on Tuesday, scored 22 points. Kemba Walker added 20, and Ben Gordon and McRoberts each had 10 for Charlotte, which has won just one of 11 and four of its past 26.
The Bobcats made just one of 13 field goal attempts in the fourth, and were outscored 23-10.
– Reported by Ian Harrison of the Associated Press
Mitchell, who coached Toronto from 2004 through 2008, said he set aside one 10-game stretch where he forbade Bargnani from taking a three-point shot. He said he went so far as to tell the young Italian he would remove him from the game if he stopped to shoot from beyond the arc.
“My thing was, I wanted him to understand he used the three-pointer as a crutch,” he said. “He relied on it too much. I wanted him to use the three-pointer as a weapon. I wanted him to realize that, from 17 feet in, in one dribble, Andrea could get anywhere on the basketball court.”
Mitchell, who has spoken of management’s interference before, would not go into the specifics of what upper management told him. He would not offer names.
“Maybe, looking back, if I ever coach again and I want to do something like that, I’ll sit down with the general manager first and say, ‘this is what I want to do, this is why I’m going to do it, and after these 10 games, I’m going to turn him loose,’” he said.
– Reported by Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post
The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday that forward Andrea Bargnani is expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the 2012-13 season with an avulsion sprain of the right elbow. This injury is not related to his previous right elbow injury that sidelined him for 26 games (December 12 - February 3).
Bargnani left at the 3:08 mark in the first quarter March 8 against the Los Angeles Lakers and did not return. He appeared in 14 of 15 games prior to this injury, including four straight starts (March 2-8).
Bargnani this season was averaging just 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, on just 40% shooting from the field.
The 25-39 Raptors are currently the 9th seed in the Eastern conference, but a full eight games behind the Milwaukee Bucks at 8th.
InsideHoops.com editor says: The Raptors appeared to be ready to flirt with making the playoffs in the East, but they’re pretty far behind the 8th spot right now. As for Bargnani, he was having a disappointing season, and I’m not sure this will affect them as the season winds down.
David Lee had 29 points and 11 rebounds to back Andrew Bogut’s strong return, and the Golden State Warriors snapped a four-game losing streak by outlasting the Toronto Raptors 125-118 on Monday night.
Stephen Curry added 26 points and tied a season high with 12 assists, and Klay Thompson scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to help the Warriors pull away with a 9-0 run late. Bogut had four points and eight rebounds in a season-high 30 minutes after missing the last six games because of a bad back.
Andrea Bargnani scored 26 points and tied a career high with five 3-pointers, and Amir Johnson added 23 points and 15 rebounds in Toronto’s fifth straight loss. Kyle Lowry finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, and Rudy Gay scored 26 points after missing the Raptors’ loss at Milwaukee on Saturday night with back spasms.
Golden State’s streaky shooting still proved to be too much. The Warriors outshot the Raptors 57 to 44 percent and made 23 of 28 free throws.
After a frustrating 1-4 road trip, Golden State began a stretch of seven straight and 16 of its last 22 at home. The Warriors improved to 19-7 this season at Oracle Arena, where the ever-loyal fan base has sold out 17 straight games and is begging for a playoff berth.
– Reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press
Dating all the way back to the franchise’s expansion draft, when B.J. Armstrong said he would prefer not to play in Toronto, there has always been a concern with the Raptors that players did not want to play for them.
Well, Sebastian Telfair, acquired before Thursday’s trade deadline, is happy to be a Raptor. He has already seen dysfunction this season.
“This is my ninth year in the league so I definitely don’t want to go through anything like we were going through in Phoenix,” Telfair, who will suit up for his first game as a Raptor on Monday against Washington, said. “You’ve got a goal to win and if you’re not winning you at least want to be out there competing at the highest level. We weren’t doing that over there in Phoenix this year. I’m happy to be a part of a team that got a goal for themselves and night in and night out they’ve got something to achieve.”
Indeed, the Suns are one of the most depressing teams in the league. They are last in the Western Conference, have a roster that is low on talent and have gone through a coaching change.
– Reported by Eric Koreen of the National Post
Quite obviously, things are getting ugly at the Air Canada Centre as it relates to Andrea Bargnani. The longest-serving Raptor is being booed every time he takes a shot now, with things getting particularly gruesome on Friday night against New York.
But, here is a question worth asking: Can the Raptors do anything to help Bargnani get out of his funk? The team has changed a lot since his December injury, with the pick and roll, where Bargnani has thrived before, rarely used since the arrival of Rudy Gay and departure of Jose Calderon. Bargnani has taken just six shots in 34 minutes in the last two games. For his career, Bargnani averages 15.2 field-goal attempts per 36 minutes.
The Raptors are barely looking his way. Given his defensive and rebounding deficiencies, there is little point using him at all if the Raptors are not going to use him on offence.
“We have some sets in that feature Andrea,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “We haven’t run them as much since he [has come back from injury], but we’re starting to run them more now. And [when] we run those for him, they’re basically his plays. Kyle [Lowry] is an effective pick-and-roll player, a different type of pick-and-roll player than Jose is, but there’s some things we can do in our pick and rolls with Andrea involved that can make sure we’re taking advantage of his skill set.”
– Reported by Eric Koreen of the National Post