Sam Cassell has been linked to various head coaching jobs in the past, so with the playoffs arriving and the offseason approaching it comes as no surprise that he’s yet again being considered by teams around the NBA.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle has reported that the Sixers have given the Rockets permission to interview Cassell, as Houston looks for a new head coach after letting Stephen Silas go this week. Feigen added in his report that the Rockets are trying to schedule an interview with Cassell while the Sixers are still in the playoffs, and Cassell could be in competition with approximately seven other candidates to begin with:
The Rockets are working to schedule an interview with Cassell while in the midst of other interviews and while the Sixers are in the playoffs. The Rockets began a coaching search on Monday after the team announced it would not pick up its option on a fourth season of Stephen Silas’ contract.
As Feigen noted later in his report, the Rockets have already begun interviewing Frank Vogel and Ime Udoka.
Cassell has been highly respected around the league for his work as an assistant coach for many years now, understandably gaining recognition for his work with young players and guards in particular. He’s been a valuable part of Doc Rivers’ coaching staff since he arrived, sharing his wisdom with the likes of Tyrese Maxey and other young players.
Just last offseason Cassell interviewed for the Jazz’s head coaching job. And with a track record of helping guards polish their skills, from John Wall (Cassell was a Wizards assistant from 2009 to 2014) to Maxey, it makes complete sense that the rebuilding Rockets would want someone with Cassell’s experience and history of developing talent for their young core. The Rockets lacked much structure and cohesion under Silas, and Cassell would surely be able to bring that.
Plus, Cassell’s history of playing for the Rockets and being a key part of their championship-winning teams in 1994 and 1995 gives him a strong connection to the franchise.
It should go without saying that Cassell departing to another team would be a significant loss for the Sixers’ staff, though. Hopefully for Philly, he’ll stay put.