Rick Zamperin: Contract extension for Nick Nurse a win-win for him and the Raptors

Toronto Raptors' head coach Nick Nurse, right, watches from the bench during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Boston Celtics Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

From the no-brainer department, the Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday that head coach Nick Nurse has been signed to a multi-year contract extension.

The announcement comes four days after the Raptors were bounced from the second round of the NBA playoffs, and the Disney bubble, by the Boston Celtics.

The deal is a win-win for the organization and Nurse himself, who became Toronto’s head coach on June 13, 2018, following the dismissal of Dwane Casey.

Read more: Toronto Raptors sign head coach Nick Nurse to multi-year extension

At the time, no one really knew what kind of head coach Nurse would be, only knowing that he had been an effective assistant coach with the club for five seasons.

But the 53-year-old Nurse handled Kawhi Leonard’s load management situation to perfection in 2018-19 while having to field reporter’s questions about Kawhi’s future with the club all season long.

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Despite the noise off the court, Nurse pushed all the right buttons in guiding Toronto to the franchise’s first championship last year.

Even though the Raps didn’t go back-to-back during this COVID-19 pandemic shortened season, Nurse led the club to its best-ever winning percentage (.736) after going 53-19, and that was after losing Leonard in free agency to the L.A. Clippers, who finished four games below the Raps in the NBA standings this season.

Click to play video: 'Raptors’ Nick Nurse says winning NBA’s Coach of the Year ‘humbling’' Raptors’ Nick Nurse says winning NBA’s Coach of the Year ‘humbling’
Raptors’ Nick Nurse says winning NBA’s Coach of the Year ‘humbling’ – Aug 22, 2020

It was no surprise that Nurse was named NBA coach of the year.

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After the league was forced to suspend its campaign because of the novel coronavirus, Toronto rolled to a 7-1 record in the bubble in advance of the playoffs and easily swept the Brooklyn Nets in the opening round of the playoffs before they ran into the red hot Celtics.

Read more: Rick Zamperin: Toronto Raptors enter off-season with many questions

Nurse also dealt with the boycotting of playoff games by NBA players, including those on his own team, with exceptional professionalism and understanding.

Locking up Nurse long-term with one year remaining on his current contract tells us everything we need to know about how the organization views the native of Caroll, Iowa, and more importantly, it shows us the confidence that the franchise has in his ability to bring the Raptors back to the NBA Finals one day.

Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.


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