Dwane Casey insists his former team finally winning it all without him didn't bother him one bit.
The Detroit Pistons head coach was fired by the Toronto Raptors last summer, which preceded the team's championship season. However, the 62-year-old said seeing the Raptors lift their first Larry O'Brien Trophy only helped affirm his work with the franchise.
"I think everybody thought I would be, 'Woe is me.' But I looked at it the other way," Casey told Michael Lee of The Athletic. "What it did, it reinforced what I was I doing. And that group took it over the hump and finished it.
"The foundation, what we were building, how I was building it, was good. Running the same offense, same defense, same philosophy, same things we built there for seven years, so it enthused me. I was happy for the players, for the country and the team. It really energized me, that what we were doing was right. I took that with it, more than jealousy."
Casey's pride in Toronto's success was justified by his former boss, Raptors president Masai Ujiri, just before the NBA Finals began. Ujiri specifically credited Casey's efforts over seven seasons in Toronto as instrumental in the franchise's journey to the top - a rare acknowledgment of a former employee by a team executive.
And ahead of his second season in Detroit, the former NBA Coach of the Year is motivated to transform the Pistons into contenders, too.
"That's what I want to do here," Casey said. "That's why (Pistons owner) Tom (Gores) has given me a long-term contract to build it here, and that's what we're on the road to doing."
Casey will face his former team early in the 2019-20 season when the Pistons travel to Toronto on Oct. 30.