Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Nick Nurse Reportedly Named Raptors Head Coach to Replace Dwane Casey

Tim Daniels

The Toronto Raptors are reportedly hiring assistant Nick Nurse to become their new head coach, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Wojnarowski reported the sides have agreed to a three-year contract worth almost $10 million.

Nurse's coaching career spans nearly three decades, starting when he joined the University of Northern Iowa staff after his playing days with the Panthers ended in 1989.

The 50-year-old Iowa native has served as a head coach in college, the D-League and overseas, but this will be his first opportunity in that capacity for an NBA team. He has been a Raptors assistant since 2013.

Most of his coaching success to date came in the British Basketball League and the D-League.

He led the Birmingham Bullets to a championship in 1996 and won another BBL title with the Manchester Giants in 2000. He won D-League titles with the Iowa Energy (2011) and Rio Grande Valley Vipers (2013).

Nurse told Brandon Hurley of the Daily Times Herald there's nothing like the NBA, though.

"It's been really awesome. There's nothing like the pace," Nurse said of the NBA lifestyle. "The grind is like nothing else. Once it starts, it just comes at you and at you. The thrill of watching players like this, up close every night, you have to thank your lucky stars. I love basketball."

That pace is likely to increase tenfold as an NBA head coach. Staying with the Raptors, where he established himself as a valuable assistant under Dwane Casey, will make for an easier transition, but there will still be immediate pressure.

Toronto's roster, led by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, is built to contend in the Eastern Conference. Anything less than a deep playoff run in his first season will be a disappointment.


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