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Report: Raptors hire Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic as next head coach

The Memphis assistant will take over in Toronto.

Memphis Grizzlies All Access Practice Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Toronto Raptors are finalizing a deal to make Memphis Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic their next head coach, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Rajakovic will replace Nick Nurse, who was fired following the team’s elimination from the play-in tournament in April. The Raptors were the last franchise to fill its coaching vacancy this offseason.

A native of Serbia, Rajakovic broke into the NBA’s developmental system in 2012 when serving as the head coach of the Tulsa 66ers, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s NBDL affiliate. Helping develop players like Reggie Jackson and Andre Roberson, he was elevated to being a Thunder assistant in 2014. He stayed on with the franchise for several seasons before heading to the Phoenix Suns in 2019 and Memphis in 2020. The Grizzlies’ on-court success with their young core over the past two seasons helped elevate Rajakovic as a head coaching candidate to watch and the Raptors were the ones to give him a chance.