Utah Jazz Coach Candidate: Sam Cassell

CITY OF THE SALT LAKE – With the Utah Jazz undergoing a coaching search for the first time in eight seasons, KSL Sports is taking a deeper dive into every candidate who has been interviewed for the job.

So far the list includes several former NBA coaches, former Jazz assistants, and many other prominent NBA names.

In the second breakdown of the series, we take a look at longtime NBA player and assistant manager Sam Cassell.

Jazz Coaching Candidate: Sam Cassell

Sam Cassell is the latest candidate to interview with the Jazz for their vacant job as head coach.

On Wednesday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweeted that the franchise would be watching the current Philadelphia 76ers assistant during their first round of interviews.

Cassell has one of the most unique track records of Jazz nominees, having a long and successful career in the NBA as a player before becoming one of the league’s most successful assistant coaches.

In 2009, the former point guard began his coaching career under the late Flip Saunders with the Washington Wizards. Cassell had played for Saunders for two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the early 2000s.

Cassell was with the Wizards when they enlisted John Wall as their first pick in 2010 and helped turn the point guard into an All-Star before joining the Los Angeles Clippers coaching staff in 2014.

In Los Angeles, coaching under Doc Rivers, Cassell worked with Chris Paul for three seasons and saw the Clippers reach the playoffs in five of his six years with the organization.

In 2020, Cassell followed Rivers to Philadelphia, where he has been assistant to the 76ers for the past two seasons.

Sam Cassell, acting career

Although he played for eight teams during his 15-year NBA career, Cassell was regarded as one of the league’s most consistent point guards.

Cassell made a quick impact in the NBA by appearing in 66 games during his rookie season with eventual champion Houston Rockets.

The guard would appear in all 82 games during his second year with the Rockets and average 11.0 points and 4.0 assists during the second playoff race for the title.

Cassell would play another season with the Rockets before being traded to the Phoenix Suns in a package for Charles Barkley in 1996. The guard would be quickly redirected to the Dallas Mavericks and back to the New Jersey Nets during the 1996-97 seasons.

It was in New Jersey that Cassell became a full-time starter, but was traded once again to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1999, where he would go on to play some of the best basketball of his career.

Cassell averaged 19.0 points and 7.2 rebounds in 312 games with the Bucks, nearly taking the team to the 2001 NBA Finals.

After five seasons in Milwaukee, Cassell was sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves where he also took the roster to new heights, helping Kevin Garnett and Latrell Sprewell reach the Western Conference Finals.

Cassell was named All-Star and earned All-NBA second-team honors in 2004, but a back injury limited him to the conference finals where the Timberwolves were knocked out by the Los Angeles Lakers.

The guard played two and a half seasons with the Clippers before joining the Boston Celtics as a free agent in 2008, where Cassell would win his third championship as the team’s reserve point guard.

In total, Cassell averaged 15.7 points and 6.0 assists over his 15-year career.

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