Surprising Candidate Emerges As "Name To Watch" For Raptors Head Coach

There have been a number of familiar names surfacing in the Toronto Raptors' head coaching search; Monty Williams, Mike Budenholzer, Kenny Atkinson and even Steve Nash. 

But one name that hasn't yet been discussed is apparently squarely on team president Masai Ujiri's radar, and that's current Sacramento Kings assistant coach Jordi Fernandez.

According to NBA Insider Marc Stein, Fernandez is "a name to watch" as the Raptors continue their exhaustive search for the person who'll replace former championship coach Nick Nurse, who was relieved of his duties last month.

Although his name hasn't surfaced much in the media, Fernandez is well-known in NBA coaching circles. He was an assistant for six years to Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone, largely in charge of defense. 

"What I've always admired about Jordi is one, his passion for the game, and two, the fact that he's always going to try to do whatever it takes," said Malone. "He's got a great energy, and brought that positive energy every day."

Here's a big blast of that energy, on display with the Kings this season, after a game in which they shut down the Raptors:

Fernandez also interviewed for the Phoenix Suns job this past week.

Photo: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports