Utah Jazz Coaching Candidate: Sam Cassell

Jun 16, 2022, 5:00 PM | Updated: 5:08 pm
Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Sam Cassell (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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

So far the list includes multiple former NBA head coaches, assistants with ties to the Jazz already, and several other prominent names around the NBA.

In the second breakdown of the series, let’s look at longtime NBA player and assistant coach Sam Cassell.

Jazz Coaching Candidate: Sam Cassell

Sam Cassell is the latest candidate to reportedly be interviewing with the Jazz for their vacant head coaching job.

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

Cassell has one of the more unique resumes of the Jazz candidates, having a long and successful career in the NBA as a player before becoming one of the most established assistant coaches in the league.

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 drafted John Wall with the top overall pick in 2010 and helped developed 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 make the playoffs in five of his six years with the organization.

In 2020, Cassell followed Rivers to Philadelphia where he has been an assistant with the 76ers over the last two seasons.

Sam Cassell Playing Career

Though he played for eight teams during his 15-year NBA career, Cassell was considered one of the most consistently steady point guards in the league.

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

The guard would appear in all 82 games during his sophomore year with the Rockets and would average 11.0 points and 4.0 assists during their second playoff run to 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 quickly be rerouted to the Dallas Mavericks, and again to the New Jersey Nets during the 1996-97 seasons.

It was in New Jersey where 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 leading the team to the 2001 NBA Finals.

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

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

The guard went on to play 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 backup point guard.

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

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Utah Jazz Coaching Candidate: Sam Cassell