Posts Tagged ‘Nick Nurse’

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse downplayed rumors about him potentially leaving the organization to join the Los Angeles Lakers next season.

“I don’t know where that stuff comes from, and I’m focused on coaching this team,” Nurse said during his end-of-season media availability Monday, according to TSN’s Josh Lewenberg.

Nurse has two years remaining on his contract with the Raptors. He’s also signed up to coach Team Canada through the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Nurse was linked last month to the Lakers’ coaching opening as a leading candidate to replace Frank Vogel.

The 54-year-old has enjoyed tremendous success during his head coaching tenure with the Raptors. He owns a combined 186-122 record across four regular seasons, including the team’s subpar 27-45 campaign while based out of Tampa.

Nurse was also named 2019-20 Coach of the Year and helped capture the franchise’s first championship in 2019 as a rookie head coach.

The Los Angeles Lakers have honed in on Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse as a replacement for Frank Vogel, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports.

Nurse has two years remaining on his contract with the Raptors. The Lakers would need to get permission from Toronto to negotiate with him, Charania notes.

The 54-year-old has emerged as one of the NBA’s top coaches since the Raptors promoted him ahead of the 2018-19 season. Nurse won a championship as a rookie head coach and amassed a 186-122 record (.604 winning percentage) across four seasons.

Michigan head coach Juwan Howard is expected to emerge as another candidate to replace Vogel, Charania adds.

The Lakers dismissed Vogel on Monday following a 33-49 season in which they missed the playoffs.

Although Nick Nurse’s immediate future with the Toronto Raptors is assured following a reportedly lavish contract extension, the 2019-20 Coach of the Year admitted Thursday that he harbors some uncertainty about the franchise’s ongoing contract negotiations with team president Masai Ujiri.

Ujiri’s current deal concludes after the 2020-21 season.

“We’ve been together, (general manager) Bobby (Webster), Masai, and I for seven years now – I mean, only kind of at a real close working relationship for two, since I became the head coach – and we feel like a team that leads the organization,” Nurse told reporters during a video press conference. “So, yeah, there’s a little concern.

“I mean, I never was concerned that they were not gonna get a deal done for me. I feel the same way about Bobby and the same for Masai. If something changes, we’ll do the best we can. And if it changes, it’s going to be probably for a good reason for somebody, right? A better reason, or whatever. But if not, we’ll just keep working together.”

The trio all joined the Raptors organization in 2013 – Ujiri after initially leaving the team in 2010 to become the Denver Nuggets’ GM, Webster as Ujiri’s first hire upon his return, and Nurse as an assistant on Dwane Casey’s coaching staff. Nurse replaced Casey as head coach in 2018, guiding the Raptors to their first-ever title in his first season on the job.

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was rewarded handsomely for his work over the past two seasons.

The 53-year-old’s new multi-year contract extension will pay him around $8 million annually, making Nurse one of the Association’s highest-paid bench bosses, sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Nurse guided the Raptors to their first NBA championship in 2018-19, becoming the ninth first-year head coach to win the title. He followed that up with a franchise-best .736 winning percentage and NBA Coach of the Year honors in his second campaign.

The Iowa native has already surpassed his predecessor Dwane Casey for the most playoff wins in Raptors history.

The Toronto Raptors signed head coach Nick Nurse to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Tuesday.

Financial terms of the extension were not disclosed.

“Our confidence in Nick just continues to grow, and part of that comes from what we’ve experienced together,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. “The past two seasons have been unlike any other in our team’s history – first, winning our championship, and then navigating a global pandemic and committing long term to the fight against racism and for social justice.

“Nick has proved that he can coach on the court and lead in life, and we’re looking forward to accomplishing great things in the future.”

Nurse excelled this season after helping the Raptors win their first-ever championship as a rookie head coach. He guided Toronto to a 53-19 mark and a franchise-record .736 winning percentage. Nurse was recently recognized as the 2019-20 Coach of the Year and is the only bench boss to win the award in both the NBA and the G League.

“Toronto has been my home for the past seven years and I look forward to it being home for many more,” Nurse said. “I’ve watched this franchise grow and reach the pinnacle, and I look forward to the challenge of helping us win another championship.”

Nurse has accumulated a 111-43 regular-season record and a 23-12 playoff mark as the Raptors’ head coach. He owns the highest all-time winning percentage by a Raptors head coach in both regular-season (.721) and postseason (.657) play.

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Toronto Raptors bench boss Nick Nurse has been named the NBA Coach of the Year for the 2019-20 season.

Nurse received 90 first-place votes en route to 470 total points. Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer and Oklahoma City Thunder bench boss Billy Donovan finished second and third with 147 and 134 points, respectively. Nate McMillan of the Indiana Pacers was the only other coach to receive a first-place vote.

The 53-year-old Nurse steered the Raptors to a 53-19 record during the regular season. Despite losing star forward Kawhi Leonard to free agency following their first NBA title in 2019, Nurse led the defending champions to a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

The Raptors won 15 straight games from Jan. 15 to Feb. 10 to set a new franchise record and eclipse the longest winning streak by a professional Canadian team in MLB, MLS, the NBA, the NHL, and the CFL.

Toronto finished the 2019-20 regular season with the league’s second-best defensive rating (104.7 points per 100 possessions) and fourth-best net rating (6.1), according to NBA Advanced Stats.

“When you see Nick on the sidelines, that’s who he is as a person. Relaxed, but so hard-working,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. “Creative and dynamic. Always setting the tone for our team – attacking our next championship, rather than defending our last. That is who Nick is, that is why we believe in him.

“His journey to this tremendous honor has been a long one – we are so happy to see him recognized this way.”

Nurse is the first person to win Coach of the Year at both the G League and NBA level after winning the former in 2011.


Nick Nurse indicated Friday that the Toronto Raptors‘ plans for the playing of the U.S. national anthem prior to their game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday will extend to the Canadian national anthem.

“First of all, we certainly have our issues with police brutality in Canada,” Toronto’s head coach told reporters. “We don’t want anyone to confuse that. That is certainly an area Canada needs to work on as well.”

The 53-year-old American added: “This isn’t about countries, this isn’t about the borders. To me, it’s about continuing to shine the light on ‘we need to do better in the police brutality area; we need to do better in the systemic racism area.’

“That’s not just Canada (and) America, that’s a lot of places. So we treat (the anthems) as one long song tomorrow.”

Players and coaches from the four teams that kicked off the long-awaited return of meaningful NBA action on Thursday – the Utah Jazz, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Clippers, and Lakers – kneeled during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before their respective games.

“I thought it was very impactful, I thought it was very well done,” Nurse said of Thursday’s gestures. “As I watched it, you could feel it stirring some emotions in your heart and in your mind. That to me means it was impactful, right? I’m sure a lot of people felt as I did.”

The Raptors – the only NBA team currently based outside the U.S. – have been heavily involved in calling for social justice reform in recent months. The organization directly aligned itself with the Black Lives Matter movement by featuring the phrase on the side of its team buses when its travel party arrived in Florida ahead of the season restart.

In an interview on July 23, Golden State Warriors big man Draymond Green asked Raptors president Masai Ujiri, who is Nigerian, why a Canadian-based team would involve itself in what Green perceived to be a U.S.-centric social discourse.

Ujiri responded that the Raptors represent the entire NBA and that social justice was “on the minds of all the players and all the teams.”

Twelve of the 17 players currently on the Raptors’ roster are American, including U.K.-born OG Anunoby. Saint Lucia-born Chris Boucher and two-way player Oshae Brissett are Canadian, while international players Pascal Siakam (Cameroon), Serge Ibaka (Republic of the Congo), and Marc Gasol (Spain) round out the roster.

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse bears no ill will toward Kawhi Leonard as the forward appears set to join the Los Angeles Clippers.

In one campaign north of the border, Leonard was the Raptors’ standout performer, helping the franchise secure its first Larry O’Brien Trophy and winning his second Finals MVP.

Though Toronto’s odds of repeating as champions took a nosedive with the news of Leonard’s impending exit, Nurse doesn’t fault the free agent for opting to play just a short drive down the California coast from his San Diego home.

“I think you can’t blame a guy for wanting to go home,” Nurse said Saturday at the Las Vegas Summer League, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “That’s what he texted me today. ‘I’m going home.’ And I just said, ‘You’ve changed a lot of lives, man, by what you’ve accomplished in Toronto. Mine especially.’ And thanked him for what he did, and we’ll look to the future, and we’ll look to (win a title) again.”

The Raptors bench boss lauded the organization’s bid to convince Leonard to stay in Toronto. Specifically, he praised the medical staff’s work in helping the 28-year-old recuperate from the quad injury that limited him to just nine games with the San Antonio Spurs in 2017-18.

While he relished the opportunity to coach the three-time All-Star, Nurse admits it’s tough to see him leave. However, the 51-year-old coach is looking forward to meeting Leonard on the court again as the Raptors attempt to defend their title.

“It’s certainly disappointing,” he said. “I think, first of all, he’s a great person. He was unbelievably fun to coach, just locked in and loaded and ready to go. People would ask me, ‘What was it like coaching him?’ And I always said the best thing was I got to stand there on the courtside and watch this guy go to work.

“That was something that I’ll never forget. Now we got to go kick his ass.”

Nurse wasn’t alone in Toronto in expressing gratitude for Leonard’s year with the franchise. Raptors president Masai Ujiri thanked both the superstar and Danny Green – who joined the Los Angeles Lakers – for their contributions to the team in a statement, and, in a video, Toronto mayor John Tory thanked Leonard for helping to bring a championship to the city.

Being scheduled to play on Christmas Day in the Association in front of a national audience of basketball fans is seen by many as a distinct honor. So for his part, first-year Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse says he’s “a little” disappointed his squad, boasting a league-best 25-10 record, will once again be left out in the cold when Tuesday’s slate tips off.

“I think it’s a marquee day to play and I think our team would like to play and I think our fans would definitely like to see us play,” Nurse said after his team’s 126-101 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.

The Raptors have consistently ranked among the top teams in the Eastern Conference in recent years, but the NBA hasn’t bestowed a Christmas Day game on Canada’s lone franchise since 2001.

In fact, that game – a 102-94 loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden – was the Raptors’ only appearance on Christmas Day in their 24-season franchise history. Even the New Orleans Pelicans, whose records only date back to their relocation from Charlotte in 2002, have played twice on Dec. 25.

On the bright side, the Raptors have still received a brighter Christmas Day spotlight than their expansion mates, the Memphis Grizzlies. The former Vancouver-based team has never played on Christmas Day.

Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry avoided phone calls and text messages from team president Masai Ujiri and new head coach Nick Nurse over the summer, league sources told TSN’s Josh Lewenberg.

Lowry deflected questions about being upset with the team for trading backcourt mate and close friend DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard during the Raptors’ media day Monday.

“I’m here to do my job,” Lowry said. “… My mindset never changes: Come to work for the Toronto Raptors, try to win (an NBA championship).”

The 32-year-old Lowry remains the Raptors’ engine despite losing a step last season. His facilitating and 3-point shooting are essential if Toronto wishes to reach the NBA Finals.