The will he?/won’t he? saga about returning to coach his Atlantic Division team has ended.
No new information on Doc Rivers, but Dwane Casey will be back with the Raptors.
Raptors press release:
Toronto Raptors President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri announced Wednesday that Head Coach Dwane Casey will return for the 2013-14 season.
“I’m excited about moving forward and growing this team with Coach Casey,” said Ujiri.
Casey is in the final year of a contract extension signed following the 2011-12 campaign.
An announcement will be made in the future regarding the club’s assistant coaching staff.
That last line seems pretty telling. There have been many rumors Ujiri wants to shake up Toronto’s assistants, and his blatant omission of giving them the same support he gave Casey is probably a strong sign they don’t have it.
The Raptors had an above-average defense in Casey’s first season and an above-average offense in his second. There are signs Casey will be a good coach for the Raptors, but they haven’t put it all together yet. Maybe new assistants will help them get there, but that’s not all they need.
A roster that features shooters Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani isn’t the easiest to coach. Those players overlap skills more than they complement each other. More than help with the coaching staff, Casey needs someone to upgrade Toronto’s players, and that’s where Ujiri comes in.
Casey deserves this third year and a chance to prove himself while Ujiri builds a potentially winning roster. In time, Ujiri will have a better idea how well Casey can coach the players the new general manager wants, and then Ujiri can make a more informed decision on his coach.
VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”
That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.
Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:
“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”
Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.
And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.
ProBasketballTalk’s Kurt Helin explains why he believes the Sacramento Kings have enough pieces to potentially make a run at the final playoff spot in the West.