Raptors narrow coaching search to Nurse, Messina

The Toronto Raptors have narrowed their coaching search to two leading candidates – Toronto assistant Nick Nurse and San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, according to a report from TSN.ca.

Nurse was among the first candidates interviewed by team president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster after the Raptors fired Dwane Casey, who had been the head coach since 2011.

Nurse joined the Raptors’ coaching staff in 2013 and has been in charge of running the offense.

Messina, meanwhile, met with the Raptors back in May and made a strong impression. He was in Toronto for a second interview last Thursday as well.

Nurse remains the frontrunner to land the job because of his familiarity with the players and franchise.

Toronto had the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference this year with a regular-season record of 59-23, but were swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second-round of the playoffs for the second consecutive postseason.

The Raptors would like to have a new coach in place ahead of the draft, which is June 21.