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Masai Ujiri won’t fire Dwane Casey – at least not right now

Jun 19, 2013, 4:21 PM EST

The will he?/won’t he? saga about returning to coach his Atlantic Division team has ended.

No new information on Doc Rivers, but Dwane Casey will be back with the Raptors.

Raptors press release:

Toronto Raptors President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri announced Wednesday that Head Coach Dwane Casey will return for the 2013-14 season.

“I’m excited about moving forward and growing this team with Coach Casey,” said Ujiri.

Casey is in the final year of a contract extension signed following the 2011-12 campaign.

An announcement will be made in the future regarding the club’s assistant coaching staff.

That last line seems pretty telling. There have been many rumors Ujiri wants to shake up Toronto’s assistants, and his blatant omission of giving them the same support he gave Casey is probably a strong sign they don’t have it.

The Raptors had an above-average defense in Casey’s first season and an above-average offense in his second. There are signs Casey will be a good coach for the Raptors, but they haven’t put it all together yet. Maybe new assistants will help them get there, but that’s not all they need.

A roster that features shooters Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani isn’t the easiest to coach. Those players overlap skills more than they complement each other. More than help with the coaching staff, Casey needs someone to upgrade Toronto’s players, and that’s where Ujiri comes in.

Casey deserves this third year and a chance to prove himself while Ujiri builds a potentially winning roster. In time, Ujiri will have a better idea how well Casey can coach the players the new general manager wants, and then Ujiri can make a more informed decision on his coach.

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