The Friday morning news of the Toronto Raptors dismissing their head coach Dwane Casey resonated far beyond the team’s Canadian fan base. That was evident from the subtle social media reaction of Miami Heat veteran guard Dwyane Wade.
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) May 11, 2018
The 61-year-old Casey had just completed his seventh season at the helm of the Raptors and had led them to a 59-23 record this season, the best mark in the Eastern Conference. That accomplishment resulted in him winning Coach of the Year honors from his fellow coaches, but a playoff sweep by the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second consecutive year proved to be fatal to his tenure with the team.
Wade was painfully aware of Casey’s coaching ability, with the tutor having been a Dallas Mavericks assistant coach prior to getting the Toronto job. In his final season with the Mavericks during the 2010-11 season, he played a key role in devising a defense to stop the Heat in the NBA Finals and delivering that franchise their first championship. That victory came in the first year after the Heat had added both LeBron James and Chris Bosh in free agency.
Casey, who compiled a 320-238 record in his seven seasons in Toronto, is expected to be a candidate for a number of the open head coaching positions. Meanwhile, Wade is expected to meet with Heat team president Pat Riley later this month to discuss his future, which could mean retirement for the 15-year veteran.