So you’re Dwane Casey and you wake up on Thursday still employed by the Toronto Raptors and you got a less than ringing endorsement from the new G.M Masai Ujiri. All of the sudden the news breaks that coach he worked with and has been a winner everywhere he has been George Karl is fired. Suddenly your Corn Flakes are tasting soggy and you are wondering where you will be working come October.
It is far from a 2 + 2 = 4 situation as Karl should be a top candidate for any of the existing opening jobs in the NBA. The Clippers job might be at the top of that list with a team that is poised to win now and needs to make an appealing case for Chris Paul to stick around. To have a coach that has worked with a hall of fame point guard like Gary Payton and a list of many of great players’ likely helps.
There is no doubt the Raptors would be lucky to land a guy like Karl and would have at least some build in advantage you would like to think. Regardless of if this is a real possibility it speaks more to the very shaky ground Casey is on with the Raptors.
The organization has talked about turning the page and approaching things with money is no object type approach to things. So no doubt every time a legit coaching candidate becomes available Casey will be looking over his shoulder for the next year.
I have made mention on more than one occasion what happened to Bryan Colangelo when he decided to do the honourable thing by giving Sam Mitchell a chance to play out his deal. The result was short term success, a Coach of the Year award for Sam Mitchell and a big fat contract extension. The relationship with Colangelo and Mitchell always from the outside seemed to be strained at best. Ujiri while he was not around when that took place, but he is aware of it as the guy that made this choice has an office in the building still.
This maybe the first of many times where Dwane Casey’s future will be questioned as the next year plays out. Even if the Raptors don’t land Karl it is safe to say this will not be the last time we hear Casey’s job status brought into question. No one is going to be offering Dwane an extension this much seems clear. That being the case his job status in the final year of his deal is always going to be at best in flux.
Dwane is a great man and I truly think he is a solid coach. The players that currently make up the roster without question respect him. All of that being said it may not be enough to matter. Life is not always fair and Casey has not been fortunate with good timing in his head coaching career in the NBA. In his other opportunity in Minnesota many felt he never was given a fair shake. Same might end up being true with the Raptors. A pro sport is not a place to work if you are in search of fairness and justice. It is a place where winning is all that ultimately matters at the end of the day. Dwane may have over produced in that regard in first season and under produced in his second season. His third season is not promised to make it to April even if he makes it through the summer.
It is a shame to see him potentially go, in a dream situation you would love to see him stick around as an assistant but that just isn’t going to happen. He is a good coach and he is someone that works very hard at what he does.
All of this said the chances of George Karl following Masai Ujiri to Toronto are not as much of a slam dunk as people are jumping too. There are better jobs out there. The Raptors might be able to offer the most cash to make it hard for Karl to say no, like it was for Ujiri.