Sunday, June 4th, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Sam Cassell would be added to Joe Mazzulla’s Boston Celtics coaching staff. The hire comes shortly after a press conference from Celtics GM Brad Stevens, in which he more or less stated he would be keeping the foundation of players intact after a Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Many thought that this statement was lackluster at best, hoping for the Celtics front office to be much more aggressive this offseason in efforts to compile a championship-winning team for the 2023-2024 season.
Also reaffirmed, was Joe Mazzulla’s future. Steven’s made it clear they were sticking with the rookie head coach who took the jobs mere days before this season’s training camp started. Steven’s made it clear they were sticking with their guys.
But sticking with your guys doesn’t mean you can’t add some. Most everyone can agree that Mazzulla showed his inexperience this year, it was clear he needed veteran and experienced help on the sidelines. The ideal candidate would have been someone with longtime coaching and playing experience, and a championship pedigree.
Cassell brings all of that and more.
Sam Cassell was a great hire for the Boston Celtics
Cassell has been an assistant coach since 2009, most notably under Doc Rivers for the Los Angeles Clipper and Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers. His player career went from 1993 until 2008, winning three championships along the way. Two with Hakeem Olajuwon’s Rockets in his rookie and sophomore years, and one with the 2008 Celtics, in his final season.
Regardless of how the rest of the offseason goes, this was a great hire for Stevens and Co. Cassell’s career has seen the game evolve over the last 30 years, and his Boston connection makes him a crowd-pleaser immediately. He can be a voice for the players and to Mazzulla. With Cassell, the team gets a little bit of everything, much needed, invaluable backcourt experience, veteran coaching, and overall toughness.
Going into the summer it was clear the Boston Celtics had work to do, this is a good start.