Raptors flew to Italy to interview familiar coaching candidate: report

May 12 2023, 2:44 pm

As their search for a head coach continues following the firing of Nick Nurse, the Toronto Raptors may be interested in bringing back a familiar face for the role.

This week, Italian sports journalist Alessandro Luigi Maggi reported that members of the Raptors’ front office traveled to Bologna, Italy, for an interview with former assistant coach Sergio Scariolo.

Scariolo, who is currently serving as head coach of Virtus Bologna of the Italian Lega Basket Serie A and head coach of the senior Spain national team, was with Toronto from 2018 to 2021.

According to Maggi, team president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster were in attendance for the meeting.

Maggi also reported that the 62-year-old told his current club that he would be meeting with Toronto. “The Raptors asked Virtus for permission to conduct this meeting, they arrived yesterday, and they left this morning,” he said. “It was a good meeting, almost like with friends because I won a title with them: I believe that things were done correctly and transparently.”

Scariolo, who is the first Italian coach to win an NBA championship, also served as interim head coach of the Raptors for one game against the Houston Rockets after Nick Nurse and five assistants missed the game due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The Raptors won that game by a score of 122–111.

While Scariolo seems like a logical choice for the position, he is by no means the only candidate the team is considering.

Earlier this week, Sportsnet’s Michael Grange floated the possibility of former NBA player JJ Redick making the transition from the desk of ESPN’s First Take and his own Old Man and the Three podcast to Toronto’s bench next season as a replacement for Nurse.

“There are some wild cards, with former Raptors head coach Dwane Casey thought to have registered interest and one source suggesting that Toronto has looked into the possibility of veteran NBA sharpshooter, turned podcaster, turned broadcaster JJ Redick — who has spoken openly about the possibility of getting into coaching — as being head coach material,” Grange wrote in an article yesterday exploring Toronto’s options.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski later confirmed that Toronto did in fact meet with Redick for a first-round interview.

With files from Daily Hive’s Adam Laskaris

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