5. Sam Cassell
Boston could turn to a former player if they move on from Joe Mazzulla. Losing Damon Stoudamire’s voice was a massive blow (subscription required) last season. Brad Stevens and company brought in Sam Cassell to fill that role as an assistant, but he could quickly jump into the top chair if Mazzulla is fired.
Cassell played 15 years in the NBA. He was an All-Star and All-NBA selection in 2004 and won three championships, including one with the 2008 Celtics. The 6’3 guard played for eight different teams and was a respected scorer, playmaker, and teammate throughout his career.
Cassell has been an assistant coach since 2009, and the Celtics are his fourth coaching stop. He has been part of the league since being drafted 24th overall in 1993 and his experience would serve him well, despite being a first-time head coach.
Cassell has a close relationship with Doc Rivers and his work with the 76ers star players in recent years should have Celtics fans excited. The NBA veteran could help Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday, and Derrick White take their games to new heights. Cassell is also known for his positive locker room influence.
Sam Cassell has interviewed for head coaching gigs over the last few years but has been unable to land a top job. The 53-year-old would be a prime candidate in Boston if the role opened up, but his biggest competition may come from beside him on the bench.