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Dwane Casey won Coach of the Year for the team that fired him

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Casey is the first coach to get fired and still win Coach of the Year since George Karl. Things should be pretty fun in Detroit, right?

Detroit Pistons Introduce Dwane Casey Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Former Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey claimed NBA Coach of the Year honors on Monday night, just weeks after the Raptors replaced him with assistant Nick Nurse. He has since accepted a position with the Detroit Pistons, and when he took the stage to accept his award in front of an applauding group of players, league officials and media members, Casey thanked the Raptors before noting his excitement at the opportunity to “play for an owner that trusts you.”

“When you get fired, which I did recently, I don’t know if you knew that or not, after winning Coach of the Year, you always doubt yourself a little bit,” he said. “You think, ‘OK. Can I do this? Do I want to do this again?’ And then I interviewed with Tom Gores, the owner of the Detroit Pistons. He and I connected, and he’s giving me the opportunity that I’m very appreciative of, for someone to believe in you. And that’s all you want as a player, and also as a coach, an owner who believes in you and trusts you with his franchise, and I appreciate that.”

Casey’s new team is pretty happy about it

The Raptors? Maybe not so much.

Casey edged out Celtics head coach Brad Stevens and Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, and even though Toronto opted to move in a different direction, his accomplishment with the Raptors is undeniable. Casey coached the Raptors to a franchise-best 59-win season, changing their offensive game plan from iso-heavy to a pace-and-space system that took the league by storm.

His accomplishments were blasted out the window — and out of Canada — after LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Raptors in the second round of the playoffs. That was a damning moment for Casey, especially after the Cavs needed seven games to get by both the Pacers and the Celtics before they were swept out of the NBA Finals by the Warriors.

But Casey is the NBA’s Coach of the Year, the first to claim the award after being fired since his mentor, George Karl. He has a chance at redemption now in Detroit. And with an owner who believes in him, he has to turn the Pistons right around.