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Raptors confirm Dwane Casey’s three-year contract extension

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 7th, 2016

Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey yells to his players during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 30, 2013, in Atlanta. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/John Bazemore
The Toronto Raptors have confirmed head coach Dwane Casey’s contract extension.

The team says the two sides have agreed “on principal terms” of a three-year deal through the 2018-19 season.

There was no confirmation of a dollar figure from the team but reports last week said the agreement was worth US$18 million.

Casey oversaw the team’s most successful season in 2015-16, steering the Raptors to a franchise-record 56 wins in the regular season and a berth in the Eastern Conference final.

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri promised last week that the deal would get done “in his sleep,” and he worked quickly to make it happen.

He said in a release Tuesday that Casey has “done an excellent job leading our teams to success on the court and with helping us develop a winning culture throughout our organization.”

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Casey inherited a team that went 22-60 in 2010-11 and had long suffered from a stigma of playoff failures. He methodically moulded the Raptors into a hard-nosed, defensive-minded team that won a franchise-record 48 games in his third season and has improved upon that number in each of the last two years.

He entered the season still feeling some pressure after back-to-back first-round exits. But the Raptors beat the Pacers and the Heat in seven-game series and handed the Cleveland Cavaliers their first two losses of the playoffs in a six-game defeat in the Eastern Conference final.

“I really think we’re a step ahead in the process,” Casey said after the Game 6 loss to Cleveland. “The players worked and put themselves in this process. We’re still a relatively young team to talk about competing for a championship, but they put themselves in that position by hard work and fighting through things this season.”

Along the way, the well-respected Casey has displayed a strong ability to develop talent. He helped the mercurial Kyle Lowry harness his attitude and aggression and blossom into one of the best point guards in the league, helped DeMar DeRozan diversify his game and become one of the better mid-range scorers in the league and, most recently, got Bismack Biyombo to realize his potential after struggling in Charlotte.

Now Lowry and DeRozan are all-stars and Biyombo has positioned himself for a massive pay day in free agency.

“We still have a ways to go, and I’ve said this the whole time, that next step is probably the biggest step we have to take as an organization and as individuals,” Casey said. “Myself included, the coaching staff, each player. We just talked in there a while ago about what each guy has to do, what they have to bring back to the table for us to take the next step, that next step, and it’s not going to be easy.”

With files from The Associated Press


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