The Toronto Raptors fired coach Dwane Casey on Friday, the team announced.
Casey, the most successful coach in franchise history, lost his job after consecutive second-round playoff sweeps to the Cleveland Cavaliers and being named the coach of the year in a vote of the NBA’s 30 coaches.
“After careful consideration, I have decided this is a very difficult but necessary step the franchise must take,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement. “As a team, we are constantly trying to grow and improve in order to get to the next level. We celebrate everything Dwane has done for the organization, we thank him, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future. He was instrumental in creating the identity and culture of who we are as a team, and we are so proud of that.”
Casey had one year left on his contract, worth $6 million.
The Raptors set a franchise record with 59 regular-season victories and earned the East’s No. 1 seed before advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 4-2 series victory over the Washington Wizards.
The Raptors’ record improved in six of seven seasons under Casey. He could quickly become a top candidate for the coaching jobs available, including in Detroit.
Former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer is expected to get a close inspection for the Raptors opening, league sources said. Budenholzer met with Milwaukee on Tuesday, league sources said.