Toronto fires Raptor’s coach, Nick Nurse, four years after he led the franchise to its first and only NBA championship in 2019

2023 April 21

Toronto — Toronto Raptor’s coach, Nick Nurse, was fired today, four years after he led the franchise to its first and only NBA championship.

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,

Raptors President Masai Ujiri

Ujiri called the move “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.”

Nurse went 227-163 in his five seasons with the Raptors, with his .582 winning percentage ranking as the best of any coach in franchise history.

The last three seasons have not gone as the team planned. The Raptors missed the playoffs in 2021, a year where they were forced to call Tampa, Florida, home because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenge of getting teams in and out of Canada for games. They lost in the first round in 2022 and an elimination game at home in the play-in tournament this season.

Nurse was with the Raptors for ten seasons- the first five as an assistant. He suggested in March that he might take some time after the season to decide his future.

“Just see how the relationship with the organization is and everything,” Nurse said. “It’s been 10 years for me, which is a pretty good run. Over those 10 years, we’ve got to be up there in a number of wins with anybody in the league.”

Former Boston coach Ime Udoka is among the coaches Toronto expects to consider for Nurse’s replacement. Udoka, who has been close with Ujiri for years, led the Celtics to the NBA Finals last season, then was suspended for this season after disclosing an inappropriate relationship with a female Celtics employee.

It’s also likely that Nurse will be considered for current openings in the NBA, given that he’s won everywhere he has been.