The Sacramento Kings and general manager Monte McNair are on the search for their next head coach. A head coach who will be tasked with leading the Sacramento Kings to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2005-06, an NBA record 16 straight playoff-less seasons.
The day after the 2021-22 NBA regular season ended the Kings made the decision to not retain interim head coach Alvin Gentry. Many Kings fans took to social media and voiced what coaches they would like to see get an interview. A name that came up multiple times next to the oft-mentioned Kenny Atkinson and Mark Jackson, was Sam Cassell.
Cassell Highly Respected Across NBA
Cassell has been talked about as a head coaching candidate for multiple NBA teams over the previous few years. In a July 2021 Fan Nation article, he was praised by both Bradley Beal and John Wall,
Fred Katz of The Athletic reported that Beal’s top choice was Sixers’ assistant Sam Cassell, and he was frustrated Cassell didn’t get a second interview. Cassell has previous ties with Beal as he was an assistant for the Wizards in Beal’s first seasons. He has also received high praise from John Wall in the past.Kevin McCormick – Fan Nation
Cassell’s Playing Career
Cassell was a three-time NBA champion during his 15-year NBA career. He won two championships with the Houston Rockets and one with the Boston Celtics.
In his first two seasons in the NBA, Cassell won back-to-back championships, 1993-’94 and ’94-’95, with the Houston Rockets. To cap off his 15-year career, he helped the Boston Celtics win a 2008-09 NBA championship. Winning a championship in your first and last NBA seasons seems like a rare feat to me. One on which a Google search didn’t produce much information. I’ll have to dive deeper into that if the Kings do indeed end up hiring Cassell.
Franchise Changing Leader
Cassell averaged over 19 points per game in five NBA seasons. He was selected to the NBA All-Star game and All NBA Team in 2003-04 with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
To me though, Cassell is best known for being a ‘franchise changing’ player. He helped the Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves reach the Conference Finals of the playoffs in 2001 and 2004 respectively. That was the T-Wolves first EVER conference finals appearance and the Bucks first conference finals appearance since 1986. Cassell also helped the Los Angeles Clippers to their first-ever playoff series victory in 2006.
Adding ‘First head coach to lead the Sacramento Kings to the playoffs since 2005-06’ would be an AWESOME addition to his resume, if you ask me!
Cassell’s Coaching Career
Cassell began his NBA coaching journey when he was hired by the Washington Wizards as an assistant coach during the summer of 2009. In 2014, after 5 seasons with the Wizards, Cassell was hired as an assistant coach by the Los Angeles Clippers, where he would join the coaching staff of Doc Rivers. In November of 2020 Cassell was hired by Philadelphia, where he is currently an assistant coach under Rivers.
Paul Pierce even credited his meeting with coach Cassell during the 2014 offseason as the main reason he decided to sign with the Washington Wizards. That type of energy, respect, and recruiting ability is EXACTLY what the Sacramento Kings franchise needs.
I can picture it now … head coach Cassell and assistant coach Doug Christie roaming the sidelines in SacTown. Setting a freakin’ TONE! Can I get a ‘Let’s GO!’?!
What Do YOU Think?
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As Always, Go Sacramento Kings!