Nick Nurse was fired as the head coach of the Toronto Raptors on Friday morning, and he’s already being considered a frontrunner for the vacant Houston Rockets job, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“Nurse will immediately become a prominent candidate in the Houston Rockets’ coaching search, sources tell ESPN,” Woj wrote on Friday.
Senior TNT NBA Insider Chris Haynes echoed that sentiment: “Houston Rockets will target Nick Nurse as a strong candidate for their vacant head coach opening.”
Nurse had a couple great seasons with the Raptors, leading the team to a 2019 NBA title, the franchise’s first ever championship. He also was voted 2020 NBA Coach of the Year.
But it’s been a few tough seasons for the Raptors, who failed to qualify for the postseason in 2022-23 after finishing 41-41 and losing in the Play-In Tournament to the Chicago Bulls.
Nurse amassed a 227-163 record in five seasons in Toronto, winning the title in his first year at the helm in 2019.
“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 part of this franchise’s most historic accomplishments, and who has been a steady leader through some of the team’s most challenging times,” team president and vice-chairman Masai Ujiri said regarding Nurse’s dismissal, according to The Athletic’s Eric Koreen and Shams Charania.
“It’s an opportunity for us to reset, to refocus, to put into place the personnel and the players who will help us reach the goal of winning our next championship.”
Nurse and the front office did not see eye to eye on player usage this season, especially when it came to younger and less proven players on the roster, per Charania and Koreen.
After 10 seasons, Nick Nurse is no longer part of the Toronto Raptors organization. But based on reports surfacing on Friday, he won’t be out of work for long.
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