In a surprising move, the Toronto Raptors have parted ways with head coach Nick Nurse.
Raptors Vice-Chairman and President, Masai Ujiri, admitted that the decision was a difficult one, considering Nurse’s significant contribution to the team’s historic achievements.
“The decision to make a change like this is never arrived at easily or taken lightly, especially when it comes to a person who has been an integral part of this franchise’s most historic accomplishments, and who has been a steady leader through some of our team’s most challenging times. As we reflect on Nick’s many successes, we thank him and his family, and wish them the best in future,” Ujiri said in a statement.
Nurse started as an assistant coach in 2013 before being promoted to head coach in 2018. In his first year, he led the Raptors to 58 wins and their first-ever NBA championship. The following season, he was named NBA Coach of the Year after guiding the team to 53 victories.
Throughout his tenure, Nurse had the highest winning percentage in team history and brought home multiple titles, including two Atlantic Division championships, one Eastern Conference title, and the 2019 NBA Championship.
The Raptors failed to make the playoffs this season after finishing ninth in the East with a 41-41 record and getting eliminated by the Chicago Bulls in the NBA play-in tournament.
While the decision to let go of Nurse may come as a shock to fans, Ujiri is looking forward to resetting and focusing on winning another title.
“This is an opportunity for us to reset, to refocus, to put into place the personnel and the players who will help us reach our goal of winning our next championship,” Ujiri said.