In a pretty interesting twist, it seems like rumors across the league have been linking Nick Nurse to the Houston Rockets and Ime Udoka to the Toronto Raptors.
“You’ll hear that Nick Nurse may be out as the coach, you’ll hear that he’s destined to head to Houston and then you’re going to hear that Ime Udoka is the front-runner to replace him in Toronto if they go outside the current staff, which seems likely,” wrote the Toronto Star‘s Doug Smith.
Nurse, of course, is currently Toronto’s head coach and has been in that role since the 2018-19 season, when he lead the Raptors to their first and only NBA title.
Udoka spent the 2021-22 season as head coach of the Boston Celtics, leading them to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors. It seemed like that was just the start of what was going to be a successful tenure for Udoka in Boston, but controversy later ensued.
The 45-year-old was suspended by the Celtics for the entire 2022-23 NBA season for multiple violations of team policies. Udoka had multiple violations of sexual misconduct directed at a woman in the organization.
Joe Mazzulla initially took over for Udoka as interim head coach before earning the full-time job. Udoka has been linked to some jobs in recent months and even seemed really close to being hired as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, but he remains without a team.
It would be really interesting if the Raptors were to move on from Nurse in order to hire Udoka. Perhaps the organization believes a move of that magnitude as necessary due to the struggles it has endured this season. Toronto currently sits in ninth place in the Eastern Conference after earning the fifth seed last season.
“Conversations over the past 10 days or so with people closely connected to Atlantic Division rivals of the Raptors, and others with direct ties to the league, have begun to focus on the coaching situation as much as anything to do with the roster,” Smith wrote.
As for Houston, it is enduring yet another rough season under Stephen Silas in year three of his tenure. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Rockets were to look in another direction after the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.
Nurse might be able to help develop some of Houston’s talented youngsters (Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun and Kevin Porter Jr.).
For now, all of the rumors are just that. Fans of the Rockets and Raptors will surely pay close attention to see if more developments take place.