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Toronto Raptors pick Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic to be next head coach

The Toronto Raptors have ended their month-long search for a new head coach and the job is reportedly going to an assistant from the Memphis Grizzlies.

Entering last month, the Toronto Raptors were one of several teams looking for a new head coach after they cut ties with Nick Nurse in April. However, despite teams like the Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, and Milwaukee Bucks already finding their new head coaches, the Raptors were the lone team left as the calendar flipped to June.

That came to an official end on Saturday when ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the team is expected to hire Memphis Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic. The 44-year-old was offered the job today, and the Toronto Raptors and his representatives are reportedly finalizing the terms of his contract.

Toronto Raptors record (’22-’23): 41-41

toronto raptors
Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors seemed to leave no stone unturned in their search to find the eleventh head coach in franchise history. During the process, Golden State Warriors associate head coach Kenny Atkinson and Milwaukee Bucks assistant Charles Lee were believed to be top candidates. The team also spoke with Italian coach Sergio Scariolo.

However, in the end, they have chosen Serbian native Rajakovic to lead their team into the future. He began his NBA coaching career as the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s G-League team in 2012.

He eventually was elevated to an assistant role with the club before moving on to similar positions with the Phoenix Suns and Grizzlies. After three seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, he became the top assistant for head coach Taylor Jenkins.

Rajakovic fills the final head coach opening left in the NBA heading into the 2023-2024 season.