Raptors' Ujiri Says Teams Can 'Keep Dreaming' About Nick Nurse Amid Lakers RumorsMay 3, 2022
The Los Angeles Lakers might be hoping to make Nick Nurse their next head coach, but it doesn't sound like the Toronto Raptors are going to let him go.
During his end-of-season press conference Tuesday, Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri said teams can "keep dreaming" when asked about the possibility of Nurse leaving the organization this offseason.
After the Lakers fired head coach Frank Vogel at the end of the regular season, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Nurse was "among" their top targets this offseason.
Charania noted Nurse's current deal with the Raptors runs through the 2023-24 season. The Lakers would need to receive permission from Toronto's front office even to speak with him.
Since Nurse still has time remaining on his contract, the Raptors could insist on some compensation from Los Angeles if they decided to let him leave.
Nurse seemed to downplay any possibility of him going to another team this offseason.
"I don't know where that stuff comes from and I'm focused on coaching this team," he told reporters Monday.
The Lakers could certainly use a coach of Nurse's caliber as they look for a quick turnaround after missing the playoffs this season. Their 33-49 record was the worst for the franchise since 2016-17 (26-56).
Nurse is generally regarded as one of the best coaches in the NBA. The 54-year-old has spent his entire NBA coaching career with the Raptors. He joined the team as an assistant coach on Dwane Casey's staff in July 2013.
After five seasons in that role, Nurse was promoted to head coach following Casey's dismissal. He has a 186-122 record with three playoff appearances, including an NBA title during the 2018-19 season, in four years leading Toronto.
The Raptors had a 21-win improvement this season after going 27-45 in 2020-21. They made the postseason as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, but they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in six games in the first round.