Sam Cassell

Jazz To Interview Sam Cassell For Head Coaching Job

The Jazz‘s list of candidates for their head coaching vacancy continues to grow, with Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic reporting (via Twitter) that the team will interview Sixers assistant Sam Cassell for the position.

As Charania points out, Jazz CEO Danny Ainge has some history with Cassell, who played for the Celtics team that won a championship in 2008. Ainge, of course, was Boston’s head of basketball operations at the time.

That title season was Cassell’s final one as a player. He joined the Wizards as an assistant coach from 2009-14, was an assistant for the Clippers under Doc Rivers from 2014-20, and is now once again an assistant under Rivers in Philadelphia.

Cassell hasn’t been linked to any other head coaching jobs this offseason, but has drawn interest as a candidate in past years. In 2021, for instance, he reportedly interviewed with the Celtics and Wizards before they hired Ime Udoka and Wes Unseld Jr., respectively.

As our head coaching search tracker shows, Cassell is the 15th candidate linked to the Jazz, who are casting an extremely wide net as they seek a replacement for Quin Snyder.

COVID-19 Updates: Wizards, Trail Blazers, Heat, Rockets, Sixers, I. Thomas, More

The league continues to be battered by players entering and exiting the health and safety protocols. If any of the players entering the protocols registered a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, they’ll remain sidelined for at least six days or until they can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Here are the latest updates from around the NBA:

Latest On Bradley Beal

Despite a pair of weekend reports suggesting that Wizards guard Bradley Beal is contemplating his future with the franchise, he has not yet requested a trade, according to multiple reports.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (video link) said on the Woj & Lowe special on ESPN on Sunday that Beal hasn’t asked the Wizards to be dealt; Fred Katz of The Athletic says there hasn’t been a demand, a request, or even a “timid suggestion” for a trade; and Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes that the All-NBA guard has remained in contact with the Wizards’ front office and has given the team no signs that he’s unhappy.

Previous reports from Bleacher Report and The Athletic suggested that Beal might make a decision on whether he wants to remain in D.C. before Thursday’s draft. A trade would be easier to put together before that draft, since it would allow potential suitors to offer 2021 picks and give the Wizards the opportunity to select the players they want with those picks.

However, Hughes cites one source who pushed back on the idea that Washington needs to decide its course within the next four days, pointing out that Beal is under contract next season and not every trade offer would center around 2021 draft picks.

One team whose offer would be heavy on 2021 picks is Golden State, and Wojnarowski (video link) views Beal as the primary target for the Warriors, who don’t seem inclined to get too involved in the Ben Simmons sweepstakes. If Beal isn’t made available via trade, Wojnarowski expects the Warriors to use their picks at No. 7 and No. 14 this Thursday.

Of course, even if Beal is available, there will be other teams in the mix besides Golden State, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe observes (video link). Lowe believes the Wizards would seek more than Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, and the Nos. 7 and 14 picks from Golden State in any Beal deal, suggesting that Washington would likely also ask for the Warriors’ 2026 first-rounder and a pick swap or two.

Here’s more on Beal:

  • Beal has always looked for reasons to stay in D.C. rather than to leave, according to Wojnarowski. “He loves that organization,” Woj said. “He loves that city.”
  • While the Wizards said Beal would have a say in the team’s head coaching search this offseason, the star guard was a little frustrated that his top pick for the job – Sixers assistant Sam Cassell – didn’t get a second interview, sources tell Katz. It’s unclear, however, if that will be a major factor in Beal’s decision on his future.
  • If Beal does request a trade, the Sixers, Heat, and Hawks are among the teams that could join the Warriors in the bidding, sources tell Katz. Hughes, meanwhile, suggests that the Warriors, Heat, Celtics, Trail Blazers, Lakers, and Mavericks are some of the clubs that would likely intrigue Beal.
  • The Thunder have made it known around the NBA that they’d be interested in participating in a Beal trade as a third team, according to Hughes.
  • The Wizards haven’t received any indication that their other star guard – Russell Westbrook – wants out of Washington, a team source tells Hughes.

Wizards Interview Sam Cassell For Coaching Job

The Wizards interviewed Sixers assistant Sam Cassell for their head coaching job on Tuesday, sources tell Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). The team is seeking a replacement for Scott Brooks after failing to reach an agreement on a new deal with him earlier this month.

Cassell was identified last week as one of the leading candidates to fill Washington’s coaching vacancy, but this is the first we’ve heard of his interview with the club. One report earlier in June suggested Cassell also may be on the Magic’s radar.

If Cassell were to be hired by the Wizards, it would be a reunion for the two sides and a homecoming of sorts for the former NBA point guard. A Baltimore native, Cassell began his coaching career with the Wizards in 2009, spending five years as an assistant with the franchise, first under Flip Saunders, then on Randy Wittman‘s staff.

Cassell subsequently worked as an assistant on Doc Rivers‘ staff with the Clippers from 2014-20, then joined Rivers in Philadelphia for the 2020/21 season. The veteran assistant has been a candidate for a handful of head coaching openings within the last couple years. He was linked to the Rockets and Clippers in 2020, and was said to receive some interest from Boston earlier this month before the team hired Ime Udoka.

While Cassell appears firmly in the mix for the Wizards’ job, the team is considering several other options, including Nuggets associate head coach Wes Unseld Jr., Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley, and Celtics assistant Scott Morrison.

Coaching Rumors: Wizards, Morrison, Cassell, Pelicans, Vaughn, Carlisle

We haven’t heard about many candidates linked to the Wizards‘ head coaching job since the team announced Scott Brooks wouldn’t be returning for the 2021/22 season. However, it sounds like Washington’s search is moving forward.

Celtics assistant Scott Morrison told Peter Yannopoulos of RDS (Twitter link) that he has interviewed for the Wizards’ head coaching job. Morrison also interviewed for the open position in Boston before the team decided to hire Ime Udoka. With Udoka likely to bring in some new assistants, Morrison’s future with the C’s is unclear.

Meanwhile, Brian Windhorst of ESPN said on his Hoop Collective podcast that Sam Cassell and Wes Unseld Jr. are considered two of the leading candidates for the Wizards’ job (hat tip to RealGM). Cassell is currently an assistant with the Sixers, while Unseld – who has previously been mentioned as a contender for the Washington job – is a Nuggets assistant.

Here are a few more coaching-related updates and notes from around the NBA:

  • Windhorst also said on his latest Hoop Collective podcast that Nets assistant Jacque Vaughn has emerged as a legit contender for the Pelicans‘ head coaching vacancy. “I’m not saying he’s going to get (the) job, because Charles Lee on the Bucks‘ staff is also going to be a strong candidate,” Windhorst said, per RealGM. “The word coming out of Chicago at the draft combine is that Jacque Vaughn, who is close to (Pelicans GM) Trajan Langdon… Jacque Vaughn is going to get a real serious look.” ESPN reported earlier in the week that both Vaughn and Lee were interviewing with New Orleans.
  • On that same Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon suggested that former Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle may have felt threatened in Dallas by assistant Jamahl Mosley‘s close relationship with Luka Doncic (hat tip to RealGM). Carlisle’s endorsement of Jason Kidd for the job could be viewed through that lens. “I think Rick understood the perception of how (the endorsement of Kidd) might impact who he didn’t endorse,” MacMahon said, adding of Carlisle and Mosley: “I don’t think those guys will necessarily send each other Christmas cards.”
  • Carlisle spoke to other teams with coaching openings before finalizing a deal with the Pacers, but Indiana was where the mutual interest was strongest, says J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (subscriber-only article). According to Michael, Carlisle and the Pacers didn’t even meet face-to-face, completing their four-year deal over the phone.

Coaching Rumors: Magic, Bucks, Pacers, McMillan, Borrego

Of all the active head coaching searches around the NBA, the Magic‘s appears to be the most fluid, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Kenny Atkinson, identified last week as a candidate for the job, has been the named most frequently linked to Orlando’s vacancy, says Fischer, but the search is expected to be wide-ranging.

Lakers assistant Jason Kidd has been connected more and more to the Magic’s opening, per Fischer, who notes that Kidd has a connection to Orlando general manager John Hammond — the two worked in Milwaukee together from 2014-17 after Hammond hired Kidd as the Bucks’ head coach.

Former Warriors assistant Jarron Collins has talked to the Magic, sources tell Bleacher Report. Fischer says Nets assistant Ime Udoka is another candidate league sources have “strongly linked” the Orlando job, though there’s a sense Udoka may have more interest in the Celtics‘ job. Sixers assistant Sam Cassell may also be on the Magic’s radar, according to Fischer, who says Cassell would be popular among Orlando’s returning players.

Here are several more coaching-related notes and rumors from Fischer’s latest report:

  • With the Bucks tied at 2-2 in their second-round series, Mike Budenholzer is in a better position now than he was a few days ago, but if Milwaukee falls short of the Finals, there’s an expectation the team may make a change, per Fischer. In that scenario, Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee could be candidates for a promotion, since the team may just want a change at the top rather than an overhaul of the entire coaching staff, Fischer notes.
  • If the Bucks make a change, Mike D’Antoni would likely have interest in the job, and Olimpia Milano coach Ettore Messina would be another name to keep an eye on, Fischer writes. Rick Carlisle could also receive interest from Milwaukee, Fischer adds, though Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has said Carlisle’s not going anywhere.
  • Among the teams seeking a new coach, the Pacers appear to be the club most focused on hiring someone with previous head coaching experience, Fischer reports. Given how badly the hire of first-time head coach Nate Bjorkgren worked out, that’s not a huge surprise.
  • All indications are that Nate McMillan will sign a new contract with the Hawks to become the team’s permanent head coach, but until that happens, he’ll likely receive interest from other teams with coaching openings, including the Celtics, says Fischer.
  • Sources tell Fischer that the Hornets and head coach James Borrego are expected to work out a contract extension this offseason.

Celtics Will Start Coaching Search With Internal Interviews

The first step in the Celtics‘ search for a new head coach to replace Brad Stevens will begin with several internal candidates, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Chris Mannix of suggested as much earlier today.

Boston’s head coaching position opened up this morning when Danny Ainge resigned as president of basketball operations and Stevens was chosen to replace him.

Weiss notes that Stevens’ staff has several strong candidates. Jay Larranaga interviewed for the Hornets’ head coaching spot before James Borrego was hired, and Scott Morrison and Brandon Bailey both coached at the team’s G League affiliate in Maine. Jerome Allen is a former NBA player with college head coaching experience at the University of Pennsylvania, while Jamie Young has been with the team since 2008.

Among external candidates, the most interesting name is Kara Lawson, who would become the first female NBA head coach if she gets the job. Lawson spent a year as an assistant in Boston before leaving in 2020 to become head coach of the women’s team at Duke. Others to watch, sources tell Weiss, include former Celtics players Sam Cassell, currently an assistant with the Sixers, and Chauncey Billups, who is on the Clippers‘ staff.

Weiss also expects interest in former Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce, Timberwolves assistant David Vanterpool, Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, Nets assistant Ime Udoka, Spurs assistant Becky Hammon and Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee. According to Weiss, another potential outsider is Juwan Howard if he’s willing to leave Michigan.

Multiple Sixers Players Could Miss Time Due To Contact Tracing

7:34pm: Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Danny Green, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, Vincent Poirier and Paul Reed are the players listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against Denver due to health and safety protocols, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

1:46pm: The Sixers are expected to have multiple players miss time in the coming days due to the NBA’s COVID-19 contact tracing protocols, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that the club is still waiting on the results of today’s coronavirus tests.

The players affected by contact tracing are expected to be ones who were in close contact with Seth Curry, says Wojnarowski. The veteran guard, who didn’t play in Thursday’s game due to an ankle injury, was told while he was sitting on the bench that he had returned a positive COVID-19 test.

As Shams Charania of The Athletic explains (via Twitter), players are tested for the coronavirus twice on game days. Curry’s rapid test earlier in the day was negative, but the 76ers learned of his positive PCR test after their game was already underway.

It’s not yet clear which Sixers players will be forced to miss time due to contact tracing. However, we can look to the Celtics as a reference — Grant Williams and Tristan Thompson are required to quarantine for at least seven days because they were sitting beside Robert Williams – who tested positive for COVID-19 – on the bench for at least 15 minutes, per Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link).

At the start of Thursday’s game, Curry was sitting on the Sixers’ bench next to assistant coach Sam Cassell and All-Star center Joel Embiid, according to The New York Daily News. Embiid, who has a three-month-old son, already told ESPN that he plans to self-quarantine from his family until he has confirmed he didn’t contract the virus.

Sixers Officially Announce Coaching Staff

The Sixers have officially announced Doc Rivers‘ new coaching staff, confirming today in a press release that Dave Joerger, Sam Cassell, Dan Burke, Popeye Jones, and Brian Adams have been hired as assistants. All five assistant coach additions were reported in the past few weeks.

In addition to those five hirings, the 76ers are retaining Eric Hughes as an assistant, hiring Pete Dominguez as a coaching associate, and giving Todor Pandov the role of assistant coach/performance director.

“After taking this job, one of my top priorities was forming the best staff in the NBA,” Rivers said in a statement. “I’m thrilled with the way it came together as this group boasts years of valuable NBA experience, both playing and coaching, and each member brings a championship-level mindset to the table. I’m confident in my staff’s ability to best support our players and look forward to getting into the lab with our team as soon as we get the green light.”

Joerger, Cassell, and Burke are the most notable additions to Rivers’ staff. Joerger is a former NBA head coach, having compiled a 245-247 (.498) record with the Kings and Grizzlies from 2013-19; Cassell is a veteran assistant who was a member of Rivers’ staff in Los Angeles and received some head coaching buzz this year; and Burke is a highly respected defensive specialist who spent the last two-plus decades in Indiana.

Sixers Adding Sam Cassell, Dan Burke To Doc Rivers’ Staff

Sam Cassell, a longtime Clippers assistant coach under Doc Rivers, will be joining Rivers in Philadelphia, becoming part of the Sixers‘ staff, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

A former NBA player who won two titles with the Rockets and a third with the Celtics, Cassell transitioned into coaching after he retired in 2009. He spent five seasons on the Wizards’ staff as an assistant and has worked since 2014 under Rivers in Los Angeles.

Rivers endorsed his longtime assistant as a deserving NBA head coaching candidate last month before he parted ways with the Clippers. Cassell reportedly interviewed to replace Rivers in L.A. and drew some interest from Houston, but the expectation was that he’d continue to work on Rivers’ staff if he didn’t get a head coaching job, per Pompey.

Meanwhile, the 76ers are also hiring veteran Pacers assistant Dan Burke, league sources tell Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link).

Burke, who began his career with the Trail Blazers, has been a fixture in Indiana for over two decades, having served as a Pacers assistant under six different head coaches, dating back to Larry Bird‘s days on the sidelines. As Bontemps notes, Burke is highly respected around the NBA and is known for his defensive acumen.

Cassell and Burke will be joining a growing Sixers staff that will also reportedly feature former Kings and Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger.

Rivers’ group is also expected to include former Clippers video coordinator Pete Dominguez, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic, who tweets that Dominguez earned a promotion to the bench after impressing Rivers and the Clips in multiple roles in recent years.