The Toronto Raptors officially fired head coach Dwane Casey on Friday after days of speculation that he would in fact be shown the door.
The firing comes despite Casey leading Toronto to a 59-win regular season and being considered the favorite for the NBA’s Coach of the Year award. It also comes after the Raptors were swept out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In discussing the decision to fire Casey, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri had some rather interesting remarks. In fact, his opening statement in announcing the firing during a press conference Friday Ujiri provided a cringe-worthy assessment of Casey’s departure.
Masai opens his presser by thanking Casey, says this has been a difficult day for the organization. "In some instances I think of this as a celebration – great man, great coach. It was a difficult decision to come to. It's not something we took lightly"
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 11, 2018
“In some instances I think of this as a celebration – great man, great coach,” Ujiri said. “It was a difficult decision to come to. It’s not something we took lightly.”
Sure he was trying to offer a compliment to Casey, but optics of “I think of it as a celebration” just isn’t great. In another interesting statement, the GM also noted that Casey deserves Coach of the Year honors. If that’s indeed true, why was he fired?
In any event, the Raptors are already lining up candidates to replace Casey as head coach. The process itself shouldn’t be too long given the late nature of the firing.