The Eastern Conference semifinals matchup between the Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat has been thrilling, yet frustrating. Both games have gone to overtime and the series is now split 1-1. As if things weren’t crazy enough, now there’s a new layer to add to this elbow-in-the-face series.
Did you know that Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Toronto Raptors coach Dwayne Casey are the two longest-running coaching tenures in the Eastern Conference? That’s now the case after Frank Vogel’s contract was surprisingly not renewed.
The Sun-Sentinel asked Spoelstra to comment on Vogel’s departure from the Pacers.
“I think it’s really disturbing, actually. I’ve only been a head coach for eight years. So what am I, the second-longest-tenured?…That’s a sad state of where the coaching profession is right now and stability of organizations.”
Dwayne Casey is in his sixth season as Toronto’s coach and only Greg Popovich, in his 20th season with the San Antonio Spurs, has been on the bench longer.
Spoelstra went on to say that it is fairly easy for him to be grateful to be a part of the Miami Heat organization, which he has been a part of — first as a video coordinator, and now as the head coach — for 21 years. He refers to the organization as a family.
As for Dwayne Casey’s job security, it feels safer now that the Raptors finally made it out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2001, but the lack of confidence in his two All-Stars, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, is concerning.
It will be interesting to see where Vogel ends up next. He is highly regarded as a head coach in the league and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him on another bench next season or possibly wait it out a year, like former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who is now coach and team president of the Minnesota Timberwolves.