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Raptors Fire Coach Nick Nurse

The Raptors have fired coach Nick Nurse, the team announced Friday morning. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the news.

“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 said in a statement. “As we reflect on Nick’s many successes, we thank him and his family, and wish them the best in future.”

The decision by Toronto comes just weeks removed from Nurse’s noncommittal comments on his future with the franchise. Last week, TSN insider Josh Lewenberg reported that the comments did not go over well with the Raptors front office.

“First of all, I think when the season gets done, we’ll evaluate everything, and even personally, I’m going to take a few weeks to see where I’m at, you know?” Nurse told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps ahead of the East play-in tournament. “Like you said, where my head’s at. And just see how the relationship with the organization is and everything.”

The comments from Nurse, who reportedly had one year remaining on his deal, frustrated front office executives in Toronto, and may have led to his dismissal on Friday. 

Nurse guided the Raptors to the 2019 NBA title thanks to a one-year stint with star Kawhi Leonard. It was the Raptors’ first-ever NBA championship, and Nurse received a fair share of the credit for getting the roster to jell around Leonard.

Nurse spent 10 years in Toronto, including five seasons as an assistant and another five as the team’s head coach. He compiled a 227–163 record as the coach, and took the Raptors to three total playoff appearances in his five seasons leading the franchise.