SMITCH got the AXE

Sources: Struggling Raptors fire Mitchell 17 games into season

Updated: December 3, 2008, 5:19 PM ET

The Toronto Raptors have fired coach Sam Mitchell after Wednesday's 39-point loss in Denver, according to NBA front-office sources.

Mitchell will be replaced by Raptors assistant coach Jay Triano, sources said.

Expected to challenge the Celtics in the Atlantic Division this season, Toronto is 8-9 and already eight games behind Boston.

Mitchell is in his fifth season with the Raptors, posting a 156-189 record. He was named the coach of the year in 2006-07 after guiding Toronto to a 47-35 record and a playoff berth. The Raptors regressed to 41-41 last season but still made the playoffs, losing in the first round.

Marc Stein covers the NBA for