What a difference a few weeks make.
The Toronto Raptors reached the conference finals for the first time ever, but things weren’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.
In the first round against Indiana, Toronto was pushed all the way to game seven. If the Raptors actually lost that series, there are conflicting reports going around that head coach Dwane Casey may have been fired.
In the next round, Toronto was forced to play another game seven against the Miami Heat, in which they came out victorious once again.
With the draft and free agency on the horizon, Toronto has elected to reward Casey with a contract extension.
Toronto has reached agreement on a three-year, $18M contract extension with coach Dwane Casey, league source tells @TheVertical.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 2, 2016
Casey has spent the past five seasons as the Raptors head coach and the team has improved in the win column every single year.
However, will this extension have any barring on two-time all-star DeMar DeRozan’s looming free agent decision?
I believe so.
In his exit presser a week ago, DeRozan was asked if there was a better fit out there for him.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “ … my mindset has always been Toronto. I always preached it. I was passionate about it when we was losing. When we was terrible, I said I’m going to stick through this whole thing and I want to be that guy who brings this organization to where it is now. I definitely don’t want to switch up after we win.”
Obviously, this was before Casey’s extension, but it sounds like he’s embraced the organization and the challenge of getting Toronto to the next level.
“I feel like I really haven’t done anything, to be honest,” DeRozan admitted. “I’m just telling you the God-honest truth, I really feel like I haven’t did anything. It’s still so much to be done. Still so much.”
Free agency begins July 1.