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#pounditFriday, September 22, 2023

Masai Ujiri gives ex-Raptors coach Dwane Casey credit for Finals run

The Toronto Raptors made a somewhat controversial decision when they fired former head coach Dwane Casey following his third consecutive season with 50-plus wins last year, but it has turned out to be the right move. And if you ask president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, Casey’s influence is still felt with the team.

While speaking with reporters in advance of the NBA Finals on Wednesday, Ujiri took some time to credit Casey and former Raptors superstar DeMar DeRozan — who was sent to the San Antonio Spurs in the Kawhi Leonard deal — for helping to get this year’s Toronto team to within four wins of a title.

“I want to give Dwane Casey credit. He prepared us for this too,” Ujiri said. “It’s not something that just started in one year. I don’t know that a team can just start in one year. I want to say that Dwane Casey and DeMar DeRozan are part of this. They’re part of our journey and how far this has come.”

Casey and DeRozan may see the comments as disingenuous considering the Raptors moved on from them, but it was a nice gesture from Ujiri. Firing Casey and bringing in Nick Nurse came as a surprise to many, but those are the types of tough decisions good executives like Ujiri make.


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