Among the franchises that still have a head coaching vacancy to fill, the Toronto Raptors may have searched the farthest and longest, interviewing a unique assortment of candidates that come from a variety of backgrounds.
With the most recent names on their list of candidates including that of Spanish national team head coach Sergio Scariolo, NBA insider Marc Stein reports that the Raptors “have also registered a level of interest in” FC Barcelona head coach Šarūnas Jasikevičius.
Jasikevičius is a former point guard that starred in Europe after leaving the University of Maryland as an undrafted player in 1998. He notably had a two-year stint in the NBA, in which he played for the Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors from 2005 to 2007.
Jasikevičius previously interviewed for the Raptors head coaching vacancy during the 2018 offseason when Nick Nurse (now head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers) replaced Dwane Casey (now a front office executive for the Detroit Pistons).
Though Scariolo is believed to be the only candidate that's advanced to the latter stages of the Raptors' search, Stein adds that a tight-lipped Toronto has made that presumption unclear, mentioning Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernández and Memphis Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajaković as names to watch as well.
Long considered a great strategist, Jasikevičius is also well regarded for his winning mentality, culture development and ability to adapt to the strengths of his player personnel. That said, Jasikevičius is known to disapprove of the player empowerment era in the NBA\ and believes the league focuses on the business aspect of basketball more than the sport itself.
How those factors would weigh into a potential offer by the Raptors is unclear.