Raptors reportedly fire head coach Nick Nurse after five seasons

The Toronto Raptors have fired head coach Nick Nurse, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

The Raptors went 41-41 this season and made the play-in tournament, but were eliminated by the Chicago Bulls after one game and failed to make the playoffs.

Nurse originally started with the Raptors in 2013 as an assistant in charge of the offense under then-head coach Dwane Casey, and was promoted five years later to head coach after Casey was fired. As Raptors head coach, Nurse has a 390-227 record over five seasons. He led the Raptors to their first NBA championship in franchise history as a first-year head coach, and won NBA Coach of the Year for the 2019-2020 season. He took the Raptors to the playoffs three times in total, but wasn't able to repeat his first-year success again.

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday, March 19, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

According to ESPN, former Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is expected to be a top candidate to replace Nurse. Udoka was suspended by the Celtics for the entire 2022-2023 season after he broke a number team rules, and was effectively fired in February when interim replacement Joe Mazzulla was given the full time position.

Working for the Raptors was Nurse's first job in the NBA, and he's never worked for another team. But as a championship-winning coach, his services will be in demand. ESPN reported that Nurse is likely to be interviewed by the Houston Rockets, who recently fired Stephen Silas, in their head coaching search.