Philadelphia 76ers coaching candidates: Sam Cassell

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 17: Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Sam Cassell looks on before a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers on January 17, 2023 at Arena in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Could the Sixers look in-house to Sam Cassell for their head coaching vacancy?

After the Philadelphia 76ers lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the third straight season under Doc Rivers, the front office decided to go in another direction. Rivers was officially dismissed as the head coach of the Sixers on Tuesday, and league insider Adrian Wojnarowski immediately listed a number of coaches that the team could be targeting.

Included in the list was current 76ers assistant coach Sam Cassell, who has been in the mix for other head coaching vacancies in the past. Would Cassell be a good fit for the Sixers? Would he be able to get this team to the next level?

Sam Cassell’s resume

Sam Cassell
LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 04: Los Angeles Clippers Assistant Coach Sam Cassell looks on before an NBA game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Clippers on November 4, 2017 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Sam Cassell is a former NBA player who has won three championships and was an NBA All-star, playing 15 years in the NBA for eight teams. He is most notable for his playing time early in his career with the Houston Rockets, winning two championships back-to-back. He is also known for his stints with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he met the Sixers in the Eastern conference finals in 2001, and with the Minnesota Timberwolves, earning an All-Star nod in 2004. In 2008, he won a championship with the Boston Celtics, while being coached by Doc Rivers.

Cassell started his career as an assistant coach on Flip Saunders’ staff on the Washington Wizards. He was a coach in Washington from 2009-2014 and joined Doc Rivers’ Los Angeles Clippers’ coaching staff until Rivers was dismissed in 2020. Cassell was hired by the Philadelphia 76ers under Doc Rivers in 2020 and has been one of his leading assistants in Philadelphia.

What he could bring to the 76ers

Sam Cassell
Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey (0) gestures after making a 3-point shot during the second half of Game 4 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, April 22, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Sam Cassell comes from the Doc Rivers’ coaching tree, so he is bound to have some of the same coaching philosophies. He may also have some different philosophies, working with Rivers for almost ten years as an assistant. What we do know is that is has been integral in the development of the 76ers’ rising star Tyrese Maxey.

Maxey has been quoted saying so many good things about Cassell and his leadership. He has talked about how he has challenged him, and his belief and confidence have helped Maxey continue to develop. Cassell also seemed to have a good relationship with James Harden, who helped make the Sixers’ offense go.

If Cassell was given a chance to lead this current iteration of the Sixers, it will have been well earned. He has paid his dues, and an opportunity will eventually be rewarded to him. We do know Cassell could get the most out of the guards in whatever system he runs, and if James Harden were to leave, he would be able to maximize Tyrese Maxey’s potential. Does Cassell have what it takes to get the Sixers to the next level? Is he the right man for the job? We will find out, but his name is in the hat for a reason.