By Frank McLean
I might be turning into an old crotchety sports writer, but I have had enough of the trolls on social media and sports radio callers which former New York Daily News writer Bob Raissman used to call “The Valley Of The Stupid”.
I don’t mean to ruin your day, but Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey is the least of the Raptors problems. He is not going anywhere.
The cries of Casey has got to go have been loud and clear since the loss in game one and a couple of questionable efforts in the Milwaukee series, but he is not the problem.
In the six years he has been in Toronto he has coached this team to three Atlantic Division titles, four straight trips to the playoffs and a 261-215 regular season won-loss record which is a .548 winning percentage.
And let’s not forget the last two years the team has won back to back 50-win seasons.
His body of work earned Casey a three year 18-million dollar contract extension which means with 12-million dollars roughly left to be paid out, he ain’t going nowhere.
The players like Casey which in this day and age in the NBA is the most important thing that coach has to earn for job security. The team has not given up on him, the effort is there on the court, it’s just that this group as a whole is not good enough to dethrone Cleveland and that’s not Casey’s fault, he did not put the roster together, that’s Masai Ujiri’s mess and we will talk about that at a later date.
If the players don’t like coach, especially the team superstar, he is at the unemployment office.
Ask David Blatt who was run out of Cleveland by the Cavaliers real General Manager and President of Basketball Operations LeBron James.
And Casey has not given up on his team either, he made that clear on Saturday in his daily media availability. He still thinks they are close to making a legitimate run at Cleveland. He hasn’t gone John Torterella on his guys.
“I like our team, it’s the most talented team we’ve had but it does take time when you are trying to integrate those pieces those pieces together and timing.”
The problem is how close is this team to Cleveland and Casey says that he is not sure.
“If and when it’s hard to say, if is a huge word in that situation because this group hasn’t had a training camp or time together to against him (a roster with Ibaka and Tucker) but I like this group we have the right pieces in place.”
Now if you can find someone who can coach better than Casey go out and get him. But the only guy I can think of would be Greg Popovich and if he leaves the San Antonio Spurs it will either by retirement or he passes away to the great basketball court in the sky while he is still employed there.
Any other coach with a similar resume to Casey would be a lateral move, and don’t say that maybe a different voice is needed. Some moves need to be made on the roster and that will happen by necessity or by players leaving by free agency.
You saw what happened in Indiana this year after Larry Bird did not renew the contract of Frank Vogel, the Pacers regressed.
In six years there Vogel ran up a 250-181 regular season record and five playoff appearances. His crime with Larry Bird was that he had the nerve to give Paul George a three minute breather in their playoff games against the Raptors.
Vogel was out of work about two weeks before the Magic hired him and if Casey left Toronto he would be employed before June. There are a lot of bad NBA teams that would jump at him.
Dwane Casey should not be fired, he is not the problem and there is nobody better out there.
Now the roster that’s another story.
Veteran journalist Frank McLean has covered nearly every Raptors game in Toronto since their inaugural season at the Skydome back in 1995-96. He has seen it all. The good, the bad and the really bad and he is one of the very few journalists in Toronto that has kept coming back for more.
Featured image courtesy of Larry Millson