May 6, 2014 12:15 pm
Updated: May 6, 2014 12:30 pm

Raptors coach Dwane Casey signs three-year contract extension


TORONTO – The Toronto Raptors rewarded coach Dwane Casey for their record-breaking season on Tuesday as the two sides agreed in principle on a new three-year contract.

The announcement came two days after the Raptors lost Game 7 to the Brooklyn Nets in the team’s first playoff appearance in six seasons.

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“From Day 1 last summer, Dwane has done an excellent job both on and off the court,” Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri said in a release. “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, 57, led a young Raptors team to a franchise-record 48 wins and the Atlantic Division title in his third season on the job.

His job status was uncertain when the season began after the Raptors hired Ujiri as GM. However, the team thrived after a seven-player deal last December with the Sacramento Kings.

Casey worked four new players into the roster and from that point forward, the Raptors had the best mark in the Eastern Conference at 41-22. Toronto pushed the vastly experienced Nets to seven games in the opening round of the playoffs, losing Game 7 by just a point.

“I thank (MLSE president) 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,” said Casey. “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.”

Casey was named NBA Eastern Conference coach of the month in December. The Raptors finished in the Top 10 in the NBA in defensive field goal percentage (.450) and points allowed (98.0), and also posted a franchise-best 22 road wins.

Casey was named head coach of the Raptors in June 2011, shortly after he helped lead the Dallas Mavericks to an NBA title. He has previously served as an associate head coach and assistant coach over his 19 seasons in the league.

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