Sam Cassell was the perfect choice to fill the role of lead assistant to Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Cassell held the same position on Doc Rivers’ staff with the Sixers and was universally liked throughout the organization, Weiss adds.
After losing Damon Stoudamire to Georgia Tech in March, Boston needed an ex-player on its bench who could relate to the team’s stars as well as those who rarely play, Weiss notes. He states that Cassell was responsible for keeping James Harden focused in Philadelphia and helped to develop Tyrese Maxey.
The Celtics have a lot of open spots to fill on the coaching staff, especially if Ben Sullivan, Mike Moser, Garrett Jackson and possibly Aaron Miles are joining Ime Udoka in Houston, as rumored. Weiss suggests that Boston might consider other Sixers coaches such as Dave Joerger, Dan Burke and Jamie Young, who spent several years with the Celtics as an assistant to Rivers and Brad Stevens, along with Jerome Allen, who coached under Dwane Casey with the Pistons.
There’s more from Boston:
- Charles Lee, who was one of the finalists for Detroit’s head coaching job, is under consideration to join the Celtics as an assistant, tweets Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. However, Lee “remains involved in several situations,” Fischer adds.
- Former Celtics boss and current Jazz CEO Danny Ainge is a strong supporter of Mazzulla after watching his first year as a head coach, per Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe. Ainge says the players never quit on Mazzulla, despite accusations after Game 3 of the conference finals, and he adapted and learned as he made his way through the playoffs. “You see Joe’s toughness and stubbornness,” Ainge said. “He’s a relentless worker. He has a passion to learn. Joe is a leader, and I think this was a difficult situation with the high expectations the team had coming in. I don’t think there’s anybody there that doesn’t believe that Joe is better than Ime (Udoka) as a coach.”
- Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com talks to several rival executives and coaches who believe the Celtics should keep Jaylen Brown and re-sign Grant Williams. “I hear fans up there are debating whether to give Brown the super-max, but at some point the numbers don’t really matter,” one general manager said. “First of all, the guy is one of the better players in the league. Start there. I know people are all upset about his last game, and sure he was bad, but that was a team-wide collapse. Just take a step back and look at where he is and what he can do. The guy can play.”