That was the easy part.
If you were to list the Toronto Raptors‘ upcoming off-season priorities from simple to complicated to potentially really complicated, signing Nick Nurse to a multi-year contract extension would be at the top of the list.
The “why” barely needs asking – or answering. The Raptors knew Nurse well as a respected and valued assistant for five seasons but club president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster were still taking a chance when they tapped a first-year NBA head coach to guide them through their one guaranteed season with Kawhi Leonard.
We know how that worked out. And Nurse’s role in that championship – keeping things rolling during Leonard’s “load management” over the course of the regular season; watching seemingly half his roster miss large chunks of time with injuries and then integrating Marc Gasol at the trade deadline — probably doesn’t get talked up enough.
He won an NBA title with a starting lineup that had played 116 minutes together before the playoffs started and rolled out a box-and-one defence in the NBA Finals.