The Toronto Raptors' disappointing loss during the play-in tournament was initially believed to be a benefit to the Houston Rockets, as they had reportedly been locked in on Raptors coach Nick Nurse for a while. The Rockets' coaching search has already gotten underway, as the franchise has interviewed Phoenix Suns assistant Kevin Young, Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin, former Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego, and former Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel.
Vogel impressed the Rockets' brass enough to warrant a second interview, becoming the first such candidate to get that far in the process. But although the Rockets were able to land an interview with Griffin, they haven't been as lucky as it pertains to getting an interview lined up with Nurse.
In fact, it's been suggested that Nurse and the Raptors may not be ready to part ways yet. ESPN's Brian Windhorst echoed those sentiments, explaining that an offseason of change doesn't necessarily mean that Nurse and the Raps are headed towards divorce on ESPN's NBA Today.
Should we rule out Nick Nurse for the Rockets?
"There's alot for the Raptors to handle. Let me just say this. Do not assume that the Raptors are gonna blow up.
Because multiple times in the Masai Ujiri era, it's looked like they were gonna hit the button and he never has. He's always generally kept it together."
Nurse has one season remaining on a deal that was inked following a 2019-20 season that saw the Raps finish with a 53-19 record, the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. But after winning the championship in 2018-19, the Raptors have yet to even reach the Eastern Conference Finals, as they were bounced in the opening round in 2021-22 and missed the postseason altogether in 2020-21, while getting eliminated in the second round in the NBA's bubble.
Nurse's defensive-first approach would benefit a Rockets group that finished 29th in defensive efficiency in each of the last two seasons, but they may have to pivot elsewhere if Nurse and the Raptors are able to kiss and make up.