Toronto Raptors Sign Coach Dwane Casey to 3-Year Contract Extension

Grant Hughes@@gt_hughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 5, 2014

USA Today

Dwane Casey didn't have to wait long for the payoff after his expectation-defying Toronto Raptors bowed out of a competitive first-round series with the Brooklyn Nets.

Per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, the Raps reached an extension agreement with Casey just one day after they were eliminated from postseason play.

Update: Tuesday, May 6, at 10:40 a.m. ET

The Raptors have formally announced Casey's new three-year deal.

At the conference announcing the head coach's extension, via a press release on Raptors.com, general manager Masai Ujiri said this of Casey: 

From day one last summer Dwane has done an excellent job both on-and-off the court. There’s been growth from each player on the roster and the team’s identity of toughness and a desire to always compete has clearly been established.

We’re very excited to continue to grow and develop this team with Dwane as our head coach.

Casey, of course, responded.

But more notable than that is his goal for this team. 

I thank Tim (Leiweke) and Masai for providing me and my staff the platform this season to coach and now to continue the process of developing this young team. We have taken some big steps toward our goal of installing a culture and a defensive mindset.

At the same time we realize the challenge ahead in order to complete our quest to build a championship program for the best fans in the NBA!

He has big plans for the future, even coming off a heartbreaking first-round loss to the Brooklyn Nets. 

--End of update--

Original Text

The team's desire to keep Casey around should come as no surprise. Toronto won a franchise-record 48 regular-season games this past year, climbing all the way up to the No. 3 seed in the East in a year when most expected it to tank.

Exceeding expectations in such a drastic fashion is worth something. More specifically, it's worth about $4 million a year, per TNT's David Aldridge:

Critically, Casey kept his players' attention and respect, despite the built-in difficulty of coaching without a contract in place beyond the season.

"One thing I respect about coach Casey, man, he's been consistent,” DeMar DeRozan said, per James Herbert of CBSSports.com. “He's been the same Dwane Casey since he's been here. Preached the same thing, told us to stick with the same principles and they'll work. We did it, and everything he said came together like he said it would.“

It's hard enough to win over a locker room in the best of circumstances. Toss in the lack of future security, a player like Kyle Lowry whose reputation as a malcontent preceded him and the early-season whispers of deliberate losing, and you've got a nearly perfect storm of coaching strife.

Casey weathered everything, and it earned him acclaim in places beyond the Raptors' locker room.

Toronto has a busy offseason ahead, with decisions yet to be made on unrestricted free agent Lowry and the ability to get as far as $20 million under the cap, per Shamsports.com, by buying out John Salmons' and Tyler Hansbrough's unguaranteed deals.

The Raptors are young, have some flexibility going forward and should be hungry to build on their surprising run this season. There's a lot to figure out for general manger Masai Ujiri, a man who loves to tinker with his roster and staff.

Ujiri's first move, retaining his head coach, was his easiest. He didn't have to do any tinkering, perhaps to his own disappointment. All he had to do was maintain the status quo.

With the widely respected Casey in place as a franchise pillar, Toronto can get to work on its extensive offseason to-do list.


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