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Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka interview with Toronto Raptors, sources say


San Antonio Spurs assistant coaches Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka interviewed with the Toronto Raptors for the franchise’s head-coaching job on Thursday and Friday, respectively, league sources told ESPN.

Messina and Udoka each spent full days meeting with Raptors president Masai Ujiri and his staff, sources said.

The Raptors also have interviewed three internal candidates — Nick Nurse, Rex Kalamian and G-League coach Jerry Stackhouse.

Nurse is considered the strongest internal choice, sources said.

Toronto fired Dwane Casey, the winningest coach in franchise history, earlier this month, despite a franchise-record 59 regular-season victories. Cleveland swept Toronto in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Messina made strong impressions in head-coaching interviews with Charlotte and Milwaukee this spring. He has been one of the world’s top coaches for decades, a legendary international coach with four EuroLeague championships as a head coach. Messina has coached such global powers as Benetton Treviso, Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow.

Messina, 58, has been part of Gregg Popovich’s staff since 2014.

Udoka, 40, also has interviewed for offseason openings with Charlotte and Orlando. He has spent six seasons on Popovich’s staff after seven years as an NBA player.



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