Skip to main content

Nick Nurse fired as Toronto Raptors head coach

The Toronto Raptors have fired Nick Nurse four years after the head coach steered the team towards its first NBA championship win.

The team confirmed the leadership change in a news release Friday morning.

“The decision to make a change like this is never arrived at easily or taken lightly, especially when it comes to a person who has been an integral part of this franchise’s most historic accomplishments, and who has been a steady leader through some of our team’s most challenging times,” President Masai Ujiri said in a statement.

“This is an opportunity for us to reset, to refocus, to put into place the personnel and the players who will help us reach our goal of winning our next championship.”

The Raptors failed to make the playoffs this season, losing to the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Ujiri said the last year has been “very disappointing” and that the team has lost some of its momentum.

“It's not one person or one finger to point,” he said. “And there's no pointing the finger at Nick. I have to take responsible responsibility for this too. As a leader of this organization, I will always do that, but it wasn't us this year.”

“I think everybody saw that.”

Ujiri stressed the decision was made by management, and that he did not hear from players.

Nurse joined the Toronto Raptors as an assistant coach in 2013 before being promoted to head coach in 2018.

He helped lead the team to its first NBA championship in 2019, with 58 wins in his first season. Nurse was named the league’s coach of the year for his efforts.

However, the team has not made a deep playoff run since.

Nurse’s contract was set to expire in 2024, and there had been rumblings that the team may be going in a different direction.

"I love it here. I love it here and we have built a really strong culture," Nurse told the Canadian Press just a week ago.

"We've got to all evaluate how we can get that culture back where we need it and get back to being a playoff team and then getting to a level of winning it all. That's what we want to do."

Last season, the Raptors were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Philadelphia 76ers


Ujiri did not comment on who was on the shortlist to replace Nurse in the next NBA season. He said that following today, staff are going to have some internal discussions to find someone that fits not just the culture of the team, but a coach who can “build spirit back.”

He also hinted that a roster change could be coming.

“I think changes are going to be made on all fronts,” he said, indicating that he did not enjoy watching the Raptors play this year.

“I think sometimes there comes a time when there's a little bit of complacency… I think some selfishness seeped in.”

“Whoever wants to win is going to come with us.”

Ujiri said he hopes to have a new head coach by the time the NBA draft starts up in June.

The Toronto Raptors finished ninth in the Eastern Conference this season.

With files from the Canadian Press Top Stories


OPINION What is 'quiet hiring' and how can employees make it work it their favour?

In a column for, personal finance writer Christopher Liew tackles 'quiet hiring' -- a term referring to companies that quietly hire from their own talent pool rather than look elsewhere -- and outlines some tips for employees on how to take advantage of the practice.

Stay Connected