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Report: Nick Nurse agrees to deal, becomes Toronto Raptors’ new coach

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The Toronto Raptors didn’t have to look far to name their next coach. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Raptors are hiring current Raptors assistant Nick Nurse as their new coach.

Wojnarowski reports via Twitter that Nurse has agreed to a three-year deal to take over the reins in Toronto. The team has scheduled a news conference for tomorrow afternoon (2:30 ET) at Air Canada Centre to officially announce Nurse’s hiring.

The Raptors’ hiring of Nurse was also reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.

Nurse, 50, joined the franchise five years ago and was a longtime assistant under former Raptors coach Dwane Casey. Nurse spent a decade coaching in Europe and won to championships and a coach of the year award in the British Basketball League. He also won a pair of titles in the G League with two different teams and was coach of the year there, too. 

 

How will Nick Nurse help the Raptors in 2018-19?

Nurse was tasked with overseeing the team’s offense alongside Casey and played a key role in Toronto’s overhaul last season. After ranking 11th in True Shooting percentage and 21st in 3-pointers made in 2016-17, the Raptors moved up to fourth in both categories as the team enjoyed its best regular season ever.

In mid-May, the Raptors parted ways with Casey and were searching for a new coach ever since. Casey led the Raptors to a team-record 59-23 mark in 2017-18 and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. But the Raptors were swept in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Cleveland Cavaliers, setting in motion an earlier-than-expected offseason for Toronto. Shortly after Toronto’s loss in Game 4 of the semis, Casey was named the NBCA Coach of the Year — an award that is voted on by a panel of his coaching peers.

As of Monday night, Nurse was one of the favorites for the job — along with San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina. Additionally, the Raptors interviewed Sarunas Jasikevicius for the job last week, per ESPN.

While the Raptors weighed their coaching candidates, every NBA team that had a coaching position to fill — the Orlando MagicCharlotte HornetsNew York KnicksDetroit Pistons, Memphis GrizzliesPhoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks — has since found a new coach. 

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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Bucks’ John Henson out indefinitely with torn ligament in wrist

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MILWAUKEE — Bucks center John Henson will be sidelined with a torn left wrist ligament. Henson initially aggravated his wrist at Portland on Nov. 6. He was able to play in the next three games before reporting additional discomfort in Wednesday night’s game vs. Memphis.

Yesterday, Henson was evaluated by Bucks orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Carole Vetter of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network. The evaluation confirmed the injury and surgery will be scheduled in the near future. His status will be updated following surgery.

In 14 games this season, Henson is averaging 5.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 13.5 minutes per game.

Bucks rookie guard Donte DiVincenzo suffered a minor left quadriceps strain in Wednesday’s game vs. Memphis and is expected to be out for the next three games after which time he’ll be re-evaluated. His status will be updated as appropriate.

In 14 games this season, DiVincenzo is averaging 6.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 18.1 minutes per game.  

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Carmelo Anthony, Houston Rockets to part ways

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After just 10 games, Carmelo Anthony and the Houston Rockets have decided it wasn’t a good fit.

Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey issued a statement on forward Carmelo Anthony’s future with the team.

“After much internal discussion, the Rockets will be parting ways with Carmelo Anthony and we are working toward a resolution,” said Morey.  “Carmelo had a tremendous approach during his time with the Rockets and accepted every role head coach Mike D’Antoni gave him. The fit we envisioned when Carmelo chose to sign with the Rockets has not materialized, therefore we thought it was best to move on as any other outcome would have been unfair to him.”

Anthony was originally the third overall pick by Denver in the 2003 NBA Draft and is a 10-time All-Star.  He is one of 11 players in NBA history with career averages of at least 24.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists.  Anthony is also a three-time Olympic gold medalist and is USA Basketball’s all-time leading Olympic scorer and rebounder.

Anthony chose to be a supporting part of Houston’s championship aspirations over opportunities to play a more prominent role elsewhere.

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Green on Durant tiff: ‘We’re not going to crumble’

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* Tonight on TNT:  Warriors vs. Rockets (8 ET)

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green says the recent spat he and teammate Kevin Durant had doesn’t mean the sky is falling for the team at large.

“What happened a few nights ago, Kevin and I spoke. We’re moving forward,” Green said at Thursday afternoon’s shootaround. “There’s no secret that I am an emotional player. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, I play with that same emotion. Sometimes they get the best of me and it doesn’t work in my favor. I’m going to live with that because it works in my favor to the good — as my resume speaks and this team’s resume speaks — moreso than it doesn’t. So, I’m never going to change who I am.

“I’ve read a lot about how ‘is this the end of the run? Or ‘Is it over?’ Or ‘did I force Kevin to leave?’ … What you must know, nobody in this organization, from a player — not myself, not Kevin not anybody else — is going to beat us. If you’re one of them 29 other teams in this league, you’ve got to beat us. We’re not going to beat us. We’re going to continue to do what we do. I’m sorry if that ruins everybody’s stories.”

Green was suspended Tuesday for one game without pay for conduct detrimental to the team following an altercation a night earlier with Durant, though general manager Bob Myers declined to offer specifics on the All-Star forward’s behavior that was considered going too far. Myers and coach Steve Kerr collaborated on the decision.

Durant had not yet addressed the media Thursday, but he and Green were photographed on social media both entering shootaround together as well as shooting together on the same side of the court. 

In the closing seconds of regulation during Monday’s 121-116 overtime loss on the road to the Clippers, Green secured a rebound and, with Durant calling for the ball, instead dribbled the length of the court into traffic and lost control as the Warriors failed to get a shot off. Durant was shown on camera visibly upset immediately afterward.

 

The Durant-Green issue began on Monday night vs. the LA Clippers.

Then, back on the bench waiting for the extra period to begin, the two traded words and gestured with Klay Thompson seated between them and Andre Iguodala, DeMarcus Cousins and others trying to calm the situation.

Kerr said on Thursday he has faith that this disruption will not stop the Warriors from their bigger goals for the season.

“We met in the locker room before practice and went through our usual gameday routine,” Kerr said. “We addressed some things that will remain private. I know Kevin and Draymond have spoken. That’s as much as I’m going to reveal I can tell you that I am extremely confident in this team’s ability to get through any adversity.

“I know what this team is made of … I know the character of the group. I know the history of this group. It’s way too strong and way too powerful to be upended by the type of adversity that may hit any team in the season.”

Green remained steadfast as well that this incident is not enough to shake the Warriors from their moorings.

“If this only makes Kevin, myself and the rest of my teammates stronger, that’s what it’s going to do,” Green said. “You think you saw something before, good luck with us now. We’re not going to crumble off of an argument. We’re going to move forward. That’s all I’ve got to say.”

For everyone who figures this franchise is perfect, Myers quickly cleared up that notion on Tuesday.

 

How will the Green-Durant incident affect Golden State going forward?

“It’s hard to win a championship. You can’t allow anything else in your locker room, in the narrative. This team has done a good job of that,” Myers said Tuesday. “I know it may appear as if it’s looked easy over the last however many years. It’s not. If you’re in our locker room, if you’re in our organization, it’s hard.

The Warriors made the announcement about four hours before they were set to host Atlanta, and the 28-year-old Green was serving the suspension against the Hawks. Golden State won that game 110-103, but Green was not at the arena for it. 

Jonas Jerebko started in place of Green and had season bests of 14 points and 14 rebounds. After the game, Durant’s first public comments were more cranky than conciliatory. While minimizing the incident — “(Expletive) happens in the NBA,” he said — Durant didn’t exactly bend over backwards to extend any olive branches. 

“What happened, happened,” he said. “I don’t really think that matters at this point (whether he and Green are friendly).”

 

Kevin Durant chimed in on his recent tiff with Draymond Green after Tuesday’s game.

Myers and Kerr have long supported Green’s fiery nature that leads to technical fouls. Myers even sat with Green next door to Oracle Arena at the Oakland Coliseum when Green was suspended for a crucial Game 5 loss to LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. The Warriors wound up losing in seven.

Green apologized after yelling at Kerr during halftime of a game at Oklahoma City in February 2016.

“My feeling on Draymond and his impact on our team doesn’t change. These things happen sometimes over the course of an NBA season,” Kerr said Tuesday. “We deal with it — again, internally — so any conversations that are happening or have happened it’s our business.”

This wasn’t the first verbal altercation between Durant, the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP, and Green. In another overtime loss, 109-106 at Sacramento on Feb. 4, 2017, they shouted at each other and argued near the bench.

Kerr said he spoke to Green, who was part of the recruiting group that worked to sway Durant to the Bay Area from Oklahoma City before the 2016-17 season.

Green has been off to a strong start this season for the two-time defending NBA champions, averaging 7.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.4 assists. Kerr has credited him for taking great care of the ball and establishing a tempo on both ends of the floor.

The game at Los Angeles marked Green’s return from a two-game absence with a sprained right foot and toe.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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