The Toronto Raptors have fired head coach Dwane Casey after seven seasons behind the bench.
"After careful consideration, I have decided this is a very difficult but neccesary step the franchise must take," team president Masai Ujiri announced in a statement released from the team. "As a team, we are constantly trying to grow and improve in order to get to the next level.
"We celebrate everything Dwane has done for the organization, we thank him, and we wish him nothing but the best in future. He was instrumental in creating the identity and culture of who we are as a team, and we are so proud of that."
Casey led the Raptors to a 320-238 regular-season record during his tenure, resulting in postseason appearances in each of the past five years.
The Raptors posted a franchise-record 59 wins this season, securing the second-best record in the league behind only the Houston Rockets.
For his role in reconfiguring the team's offense while continuing to develop the Raptors' ascendant bench unit, Casey was selected by his fellow head coaches as the Michael H. Goldberg Coach of the Year by the National Basketball Coaches Association on Wednesday. The 61-year-old is also one of the favorites to win the Red Auerbach Coach of the Year award, voted on by media, at the 2018 NBA Awards in June.
Hired in June 2011 after assisting the Dallas Mavericks in their title run, Casey was the fourth-longest tenured coach with one team in the NBA at the time of his dismissal, behind only the San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich, the Miami Heat's Erik Spoelstra, and his former boss, Mavericks' coach Rick Carlisle. Under Casey, the Raptors improved their record from the previous season in six out of seven seasons.
However, despite the team's regular-season success and steady improvement with Casey at the helm, the Raptors' postseasons were often punctuated by embarrassing losses, including back-to-back Eastern Conference Semifinal sweeps at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017 and 2018.
Ujiri and the Raptors' brain trust will now join the coaching carousel to find the team's ninth head coach in franchise history.