Sam Cassell is believed to be one of the leading candidates in the Houston Rockets’ coaching search.
A three-time NBA Champion, Cassell, 50, was the 24th overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft out of Florida State. During his 15-year NBA career, Casssell averaged 15.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6 assists in stints with the Rockets, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics.
Post-NBA career, Cassell has been an assistant coach in the NBA for 11 seasons. Cassell’s done tour with the Washington Wizards under Flip Saunders and is currently an assistant coach with Los Angeles Clippers under current head coach, Doc Rivers.
“Sam Cassell should be a head coach, period,” Doc Rivers said recently.
“He’s got an incredibly high basketball IQ, and I just hope he gets a shot. … When they talk about paying dues, he’s paid every due that is possible and he’s yet to get a job. So, I’m hoping that happens.”
Rivers isn’t the only person singing Cassell’s praises. Insert Kenny “The Jet” Smith.
“Sam Cassell is probably next on the list in multiple places with all of the opportunities available,” Smith told me by phone.
“Sam will get a job in the NBA.”
Rockets GM, Daryl Morey interviewed Cassell when the head coach position was open in 2011 and 2016.
Perhaps three times is in fact the charm.
Cassell is a popular name Houston. So is fellow Clippers assistant coach, Ty Lue who is also believed to be in the running for that position as well as the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Orleans Pelicans.
An NBA Champ with the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2001-02 team with Shaquille O’Neal and the late Kobe Bryant, Lue averaged 8.5 points, 1.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists during his career where he also had stops with the Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks.
Lue last held a head coaching position in the NBA in 2018 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Lue compiled a 128-83 record during coaching career with Cleveland Cavaliers & began coaching during 2015 season when David Blatt was relieved of coaching duties as he failed to connect with the team.
Lue guided Cleveland to an NBA Championship in 2016 with the help of the big three component of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving on their roste
For those keeping score at home: New Orleans Pelicans associate head coach, Chris Finch is also believed to be a Rockets head coaching candidate.
A former Rockets & Denver Nuggets assistant coach, Finch played collegiately at Division III Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania & overseas in England.