Raptors coach fired
The good times in Toronto are over . After a great time in T dot , after winning the Atlantic Division , Sam Mitchell needs to move on .
The Toronto Raptors fired head coach Sam Mitchell on Wednesday.
Mitchell, 45, will be replaced on an interim basis by assistant coach Jay Triano.
Triano, from Niagara Falls, Ont., is best known for coaching the Canadian men’s team from 1998-2004.
He filled in once as Raptors head coach for Mitchell, earning a 105-82 over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves.
Mitchell posted a 156-189 record with Toronto, but the Raptors sit an unremarkable 8-9 this season.
Tuesday’s embarrassing 132-93 loss at Denver was the fifth-worst setback in franchise history — and, ultimately, Mitchell’s undoing.
“This is a difficult but necessary step the franchise must take,” Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. “We appreciate all that Sam has done for the organization, applaud him for his successes and wish him nothing but the best with his future in basketball.”
Mitchell was chosen the NBA’s coach of the year in 2007 as the Raptors posted a 47-35 record and clinched their first Atlantic Division title and their first playoff berth in five seasons.
Colangelo promptly re-signed him to a four-year, $12-million US contract on May 22, 2007.
Prior to that, Mitchell was the lowest paid head coach in the league at $2 million US per season.
Toronto’s 47 wins that season equalled the franchise record and represented a 20-win improvement over the previous season, when it managed a 27-55 mark under Mitchell.
He replaced Kevin O’Neill as Raptors head coach on June 29, 2004.
Mitchell spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks prior to joining Toronto.
He also was hired to be Bernie Bickerstaff’s lead assistant with the Charlotte Bobcats, who granted him permission to talk to the Raptors.