Sixers Coach, 3-Time NBA Champ Interviewing for Jazz Opening: Report


Getty Sam Cassell, then an assistant coach with the Washington Wizards, during a game in 2009.

The Utah Jazz are looking for a new head coach and it looks like Philadelphia 76ers assistant Sam Cassell is somebody who is being considered for the job.

A variety of names have already been considered for the opening, and it seems like the Jazz will be patient in the search as they look for the right fit to lead Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Govert. The Jazz are a perennial playoff contender, but they haven’t been able to get over the hump and reach The Finals.

On June 15, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported alongside Tony Jones that Utah is looking at the Philadelphia assistant for the open spot.

Cassell to Utah?

The ties between Cassell and the Jazz are deep, but it has everything to do with CEO Danny Ainge. As Charania points out, the former point guard was a member of the 2008 NBA Champion Boston Celtics. He retired from the NBA after the season.

“The Utah Jazz are interviewing Philadelphia 76ers assistant Sam Cassell for their open head coaching job, sources tell me and [Tony Jones],” Charania tweeted. “Cassell was part of the 2008 champion Celtics, constructed by now-Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, and has been an assistant coach since 2009.”

Losing Cassell would be a blow to the Sixers as he’s been an assistant with the team since 2020. There were even some fans who called on him to replace Doc Rivers as head coach in the event he was let go.

Before joining the Sixers, Cassell was an assistant on Rivers’ staff with the Los Angeles Clippers. He has never been a head coach himself, so the Jazz opening could be the perfect opportunity for him.

He’s Had Chances

Being linked to the Jazz opening isn’t the first time Cassell was in the running for a head coaching job.

The three-time champion was also in the running for the Boston Celtics opening when Brad Stevens made the decision to leave the position and join the front office. He even had a big ally in the media with former teammate Kendrick Perkins campaigning for him.

Of course, the job eventually went to Ime Udoka who has led the Celtics to the NBA Finals in his first season.

When the Washington Wizards let go of head coach Scott Brooks, Cassell was also named a candidate for the opening there. His coaching career began in Washington, and at one point he was one of the top options available. That opening eventually went to Wes Unseld Jr.

With the Lakers hiring Darvin Ham for their opening, the Jazz remain the last real shot currently available for Cassell. The former point guard is only 52 years old, so he has plenty of time for his number to be called, but that will all rely on what openings become available.

He seemed like a great fit for both the Wizards and the Celtics but was passed over for each. With Doc Rivers coming back for another year in Philadelphia, it doesn’t look like he’ll be taking over there either.

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