Masai Ujiri had a difficult decision to make after yet another disappointing playoff exit by his Toronto Raptors: Would the team part ways with longtime - and widely respected - head coach Dwane Casey after seven seasons?
With Casey's dismissal Friday morning, Ujiri finally played his hand. That doesn't mean it was an easy choice for the team president.
"I hope coach Casey gets Coach of the Year," a downbeat Ujiri told the press at Friday's post-firing press conference. "He deserves it."
Casey piloted the Raptors to a franchise-best 59-23 record in the regular season and their fifth straight playoff appearance, matching the team's total postseason trips in the 18 years prior to Casey's arrival in 2011.
"What an unbelievable human being," Ujiri said of Casey. "It made this the hardest thing I've done in my life. (General manager) Bobby Webster and I went to speak to him. I never met anyone that classy in my life.
"I can I honestly say that I don't know if I'll work with a better person."