Former Purdue coach Gene Keady has decided that nine months away from basketball is long enough, and plans to come out of retirement to take a position with the Raptors.

Keady, who retired in March after going 512-270 in 25 seasons with the Boilermakers, said he had not been looking for another job in basketball before Raptors executive Wayne Embry called him last month to talk about becoming a consultant or bench coach.

Keady said his exact duties had not yet been decided.

"I'm excited about it," he said. "I've kind of left it up to [the Raptors] as to what they would like me to do. They have a lot of young talent, and I like their guys and their coaching staff. I'm looking forward to it."

Raptors spokesman Jim LaBumbard said yesterday that the team had reached an agreement with Keady.

"We are just waiting for him to decide when he will come up here," LaBumbard said. "There is a desire on both ends."

The Raptors (3-17) have struggled this season with a young team, but Keady believes he would enjoy coaching in the NBA.

Keady said he's being brought in to help the Raptors' defense and just do "whatever the Coach [Sam Mitchell] asks me to do."

* SIXERS NIX TWO: The 76ers waived Fs Deng Gai and James Thomas.

Gai, a 6-foot-9 rookie, was signed as a free agent and played in just two games this season.

The 6-8 Thomas played in 15 games, averaging 1.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 8.3 minutes.

-- From News Services

Former Purdue coach Gene Keady, right, missed basketball more than a little, returning nine months after leaving the college game to aid the 3-17 Raptors.