The Embarrassment From King James’ Smiting Got Dwane Casey Fired

Dwayne Casey got fired on Friday coming off of a 59-win season, the most in Toronto Raptors history. The easy narrative is Black head coaches get the quick hook, because it’s true. 

We know that already. 

It wasnt, however, racism or lack of opportunities for Africa-American coaches that got Casey axed…this time. There’s a large contingent of African-American basketball heads that agree with Torontos decision to terminate a guy who was ironically selected as NBA Coach of the Year just days prior. 

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Dwane Casey led the Raptors to a one seed, but they ran into a buzzsaw with LeBron James in the playoffs.

Casey is among the creme de la creme of Black NBA coaches and at the top of his profession as a consistent winner, so his firing is a major loss for the culture.  

The reality of the situation? 

The Raptors as currently constituted with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan at the helm, will not get to an NBA Finals as long as LeBron James is in the way. That’s a hard pill for Raptors ownership to swallow. At the same time, in a league based on talent more than anything, getting rid of your two All-Stars is out of the question no matter how feebly they show up in big playoff spots. No matter how LeBron takes their hearts and souls right from their chests in crucial games. 

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LeThanos took the Raptors’ Soul Stone.

Ultimately, the blame fall on the coach and Casey became the latest victim of LeBron James and more importantly the outlet for Raptors fans to release the frustration and embarrassment that the last two playoff sweeps to Cleveland has brought the organization, the city of Toronto and rap master Drake.

NBA players are already expressing some outrage, calling Casey a “scapegoat” and “sacrificial lamb.”

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Former Raptor Patrick Patterson calls Dwane Casey a ‘scapegoat’ and a ‘sacrificial lamb’

Caseys had a respectable and —  in comparison to his contemporaries — upper echelon run as Raptors head coach since 2011. He has a 320238 record in those seven seasons and if not for LeBron James (If not for Michael Jordan…If not for Magic Johnson) Toronto may have been playing for a couple of NBA championships

Like many championship caliber coaches, time and circumstance were not on Caseys side. He had opportunities and fell short and will forever contemplate what could have been. So in this game of hire and fire, Mighty Casey has struck out.  

“After careful consideration, I have decided this is a very difficult but necessary step the franchise must take. As a team, we are constantly trying to grow and improve in order to get to the next level,” team president Masai Ujiri said in a statement. “We celebrate everything Dwane has done for the organization, we thank him, and we wish 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.”

It shouldnt take long for Casey to get another job, but his firing does signal a very disturbing trend for NBA coaches. 

Casey didnt lose in the first round or anything like that. He got fired after leading an Eastern conference with LeBron James in it in wins, proving to be the best coach in franchise history and getting the Raptors to a conference finals in 2016 and the conference semifinals the last two seasons.  At this point, theres no rhyme or reason for why NBA coaches are fired. 

Theres not a coach in the world that could have gotten Casey past LeBron. Despite Toronto s two studs, they are a flawed team and Casey has actually maximized the talent he has rather than falling short, as is the perception in the aftermath of his firing. 

[FULL] Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan after Raptors’ sweep at hands of LeBron, Cavaliers | NBA on ESPN

Toronto Raptors guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan speak to reporters after their team’s sweep at the hands of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Maybe the Raptors could have won a few more games to make the series losses respectable, but I doubt that would have saved Caseys job. Someone has to take the blame for the false expectations of Raptors ownership and the fans. With the firing of Casey, the position of NBA head coach has officially become a crap shoot of bewilderment with no blueprint for how to keep your job, short of winning an NBA championship and only one team can do that per year. With the rules as constituted, coaching in the NBA has become an impossible and unstable career venture.  

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