Casey on the ball

Raptors president/GM Bryan Colangelo is expected to name the club's new coach this week as the...

Raptors president/GM Bryan Colangelo is expected to name the club's new coach this week as the business of re-shaping the team begins in earnest. (JACK BOLAND/QMI Agency)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:27 AM ET

TORONTO - The beginning of what promises to be a rather long and eventful off-season for the Raptors will soon be unleashed.

In a matter of days, perhaps as soon as Tuesday, the Raptors should be in a position to name their new head coach, an appointment that will signal a changing of a culture that has been too soft for far too many years.

According to multiple reports, a deal with Dwane Casey is all but done and the veteran assistant coach was with GM Bryan Colangelo in New York City for the team's workout with Bismack Biyombo on Monday.

As reported in the Sun over the weekend, Casey had not yet interviewed for the Detroit Pistons, who also had him on their short list.

With Thursday's NBA draft drawing nearer, a new coach isn't exactly a necessity but it would be welcome in selling a program that has so many moving parts that anything can happen in the coming days, weeks and months.

The move to hire Casey will be applauded, and already has been in certain corners given Casey's defensive background, but a move that comes with caution.

A lot has been made of Casey's role in helping Dallas win a championship and how some of the game's elite players were held in check during the Mavs' run to a title, but defence is a team concept that requires players to buy into the scheme.

There's also the matter of patience and time, which don't exactly lend themselves to immediate results.

When Casey does get introduced, it will be somewhat ironic seeing that Casey was one of the finalists for the Raptors' job back in 2003 when Kevin O'Neill got the nod to replace Lenny Wilkens.

Another finalist was Mike Woodson, who was interviewed for Detroit's vacant head coaching position on Monday.

Lawrence Frank, who had a working relationship with Triano during their days in Vancouver, is said to be Toronto's second choice, if a deal can't get done with Casey.

A sure sign that something is getting close to being finalized is talk of the Raptors' current assistant coaches exploring their options.

Other than P.J. Carlesimo, who served as Triano's defacto defensive coach last season, no assistant has a contract beyond this month.

Scott Roth, whom Triano added to his staff last season, has emerged as one of three finalists to join Mike Brown's staff with the Lakers.

Brown went outside the box recently by hiring Italy's Ettore Messina as a coaching consultant.

Brown is likely to add to his staff in the coming days with Jim Boylen scheduled to be interviewed on Monday.

Roth, it's been learned, has already been interviewed by the Lakers.

As Toronto's coaching search draws closer to its end, the team continues to prepare for Thursday's draft.

A Raptors contingent returned to Toronto on Monday following two days of overseeing workouts in New York.


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