Sixers’ Assistant Coach Leaving to Join Division Rival: Report

Sam Cassell, Doc Rivers

Getty Sam Cassell and Doc Rivers formerly of the Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers are going through yet another change in their coaching staff. NBA Insider Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that assistant coach Sam Cassell has joined the Boston Celtics coaching staff under head coach Joe Mazzulla.

Cassell won a title with the Celtics at the tail end of his playing days in 2008, which made for his third title as a pro, having won two other championships with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and 1995. The Celtics are going through a lot of coaching changes, as they are reportedly going to lose three of their assistants to the Rockets to work under former head coach Ime Udoka, as reported by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Cassell came along with former head coach Doc Rivers in 2020 as an assistant for the Sixers and had also been an assistant under Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2014 until 2020 when Rivers and the Clippers parted ways.

Nick Nurse Praises Tyrese Maxey

During his introductory press conference, Sixers head coach Nick Nurse had much to say about Tyrese Maxey, praising the guard for how hard he was to cover as the opposition.

“First of all, from afar, playing against him was very difficult. Just the sheer speed and quickness that he has, it was tough to game plan against him. Sometimes, you just can’t beat the speed,” Nurse said during his introductory press conference, per 6abc Philadelphia.

Nurse added that Maxey’s improvements as a shooter only further made him harder to defend.

“What our experience was it wasn’t just speed and layups, then he started shooting the ball really well, and he started making further layups, and then we were trying to get him away from the rim, but he’d still make a lot of them.”

Following all the praise he gave Maxey, Nurse added that the Sixers guard has a lot to prove as a creator.

“He could be more of a creator. You say, ‘Well, what is creating?’ Well, creating is you’re scoring, or you’re drawing more people than one and then creating for others, so can he make the reads? All the reads? That’s the first place I would start offensively is getting him more reps in the pick-and-roll so he can make the reads to all the other players on the floor depending on what he sees.”

Doc Rivers Withdrew Name From Coaching Gig

Before the Phoenix Suns announced that Frank Vogel would be the Phoenix Suns’ next head coach, ESPN’s Marc J. Spears reported that Rivers had withdrawn his name from consideration. Spears reported the news about Rivers at 12:19 pm Eastern Time.

Ten minutes later, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Suns had hired Frank Vogel as their next head coach.

The timing of it is odd, but evidently, Rivers lost interest in coaching the Suns, despite the team having Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Chris Paul all on the same team at the moment. Following the coaching hires thus far in the offseason, there’s only one available head coaching job left, and it’s Nick Nurse’s previous team, the Toronto Raptors.

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