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Lewenberg: Raptors add Nurse to staff, prepare for summer league

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Josh Lewenberg
7/9/2013 5:01:48 PM
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TORONTO - As Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors wait out the Moratorium period -- which comes to an end at 12:00am ET Wednesday -- before they're officially able to tinker with the roster, the team's front office and coaching staff continues to take shape.

Nick Nurse became the first assistant to be named to Dwane Casey's revamped coaching staff in a press release issued by the team Tuesday afternoon.

Nurse, 45, has spent the previous six years coaching in the NBA Development League most recently with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, winners of the 2012-13 D-League championship. Nurse, the recipient of the 2010-11 coach of the year award, is the first and only head coach to lead two different D-League teams to championship victories.

Prior to his time in the D-League, he spent 11 years coaching in Europe. He owns a career professional coaching record of 459-220 during the regular season and 76-54 in the playoffs.

Nurse's primary responsibility, under the defensive minded head coach, will be overseeing an offence that has been subpar since Casey took over in 2011-12. Nurse is regarded as an up and coming offensive mind, capable of translating the success he's achieved in the Development League and overseas to the NBA. The Raptors averaged 97.2 points per game last season, 16th in the association, after ranking 28th in scoring the year prior.

The rest of Casey's staff should be announced later this week and is not expected to include any of his assistants from last season. At least one assistant will be a former player. Former Raptor Popeye Jones is believed to be in the mix, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.

Raptors Set for Summer League

Nurse is expected to coach the Raptors in the Las Vegas Summer League, which begins later this week.

The roster, headlined by sophomores Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross and Quincy Acy will also include guards Julyan Stone -- who agreed to a two-year deal with the Raptors last week -- Toronto-native Devoe Joseph, brother of Cory and NBA journeyman Coby Karl, son of George.

The squad will hold its first practice in Vegas on Wednesday and play its first game Saturday evening against the Miami Heat.

Bargnani Trade To Be Made Official

Signings and trades can be made official beginning at midnight Wednesday morning, when the salary cap is set for the upcoming campaign. The Andrea Bargnani deal, which was agreed to in principle early last week, will be approved by the league and officially announced on Wednesday.

The maligned forward will be sent to the New York Knicks for a package that is expected to include sharpshooting forward Steve Novak, veteran centre Marcus Camby, a 2016-first round pick and at least one second-round pick.

The deal was first reported on June 30, a day before the July Moratorium period began, but was not immediately approved by the NBA. Wednesday's reshaped agreement will likely include free agent guard-forward Quentin Richardson, who would have to be signed by New York before he can be included in the trade.

Masai Ujiri (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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