Boston Celtics' assistant Sam Cassell amongst favorites to become Lakers coach if L.A. fires Darvin Ham

May 1, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Sam Cassell reacts to a
May 1, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Sam Cassell reacts to a / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics could be losing an essential voice on their bench this offseason.

Davin Ham is likely out as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. The former NBA journeyman turned signal caller had a tumultuous second season leading the purple-and-gold, culminating in a five-game defeat at the hands of the defending champion Denver Nuggets. 

In a recent article by the The Athletic's Shams Carania, the insider claimed that "Darvin Ham's job status is in serious peril—it is highly unlikely that he will be back as head coach of this team." 

With LeBron James set to hit unrestricted free agency, the illustrious franchise faces a critical off-season. Many think moves around the roster's edges, plus the injection of a new voice on the sidelines, could pay dividends. But who could be a viable replacement?

Laker's assistant, Phil Handy, is the current odds-on favorite to assume the role at +200. Handy also served as an assistant in Cleveland during LeBron's second stint with the Cavaliers and has been in Los Angeles since 2019. He's known for having an extraordinary basketball mind and uploads skill videos to his renowned YouTube channel. 

Former Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwon Howard, longtime NBA forward Juwon Howard, and current Atlanta Hawks head coach Quinn Snyder are tied in a distant second at +650. Howard played with LeBron for three seasons on the Miami Heat, whereas Snyder is under the Coach K tree and provides over a decade of experience coaching in the league. 

Slightly behind them is the Celtics' assistant, Sam Cassell. The former point guard won three championships and earned an All-Star selection in his playing days. Since his retirement, he's become one of the most sought-after names in the coaching industry and a popular name to fill impending vacancies in the near future. 

The Boston Celtics' should retain Sam Cassell for as long as they can

Joe Mazzulla is on shaky ground. Even after guiding Boston to 64 wins and the top record in the NBA, questions loom around his play design and clock management. His calm yet blunt demeanor could also rub the modern era of players the wrong way if the squad fails to capture a championship. 

This season, ownership and management made it apparent that they tried to surround Mazzulla with personalities that could shield some of his weaknesses. Charles Lee, one of the most respected associate coaches in the game, jumped over from the Milwaukee Bucks. Amile Jefferson is one of Jayson Tatum's close friends and a former college teammate. Then, Cassell, a one-time staple on Doc Rivers' staff, joined his former team to raise his stock and win another title.

With Charles Lee the favorite to take the Charlotte Hornets open gig, Boston must maintain their other chief assistant. Cassell can connect with players like no one else behind the scenes and understands what it takes to win at the highest level. Hiring Cassell from within could be the most logical replacement if Mazzulla isn't the right man for the job.

Either way, Boston would be foolish to let him walk and revive a once-hated rival.