The Celtics already have made it known they are looking to add a veteran assistant coach to Joe Mazzulla’s staff this offseason, needing to replace a litany of lost assistants from their 2023 squad.
Paul Pierce has a candidate in mind.
In the latest episode of his “Truth and Ticket” podcast with Kevin Garnett, Pierce discussed the Celtics’ next steps in trying to overcome a devastating Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.
“These cats went to the Finals,” Pierce told Garnett, per Brian Robb of MassLive. “They were one game away from the Finals. You’ve just got to take a deep breath and say, ‘Where do we get better at?’ It starts at the top. … You can’t keep bringing in new voices. I’m going to add to what I got right now. I’ve got to add to it. It’s already good! I’ve got to add to it. It’s already there. So, I’m bringing Mazzulla back but maybe I’m bringing in a veteran coach, like Sam Cassell. Some influence on the bench. Respect. A champion. Been a coach. Understands what it takes.”
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Pierce and Garnett both are quite familiar with Cassell, who won an NBA title alongside the two in 2008 — the final season in his 15-year career. The 53-year-old immediately jumped into coaching, spending the majority of his second career on Doc Rivers’ staffs with the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers.
Rivers was fired by the 76ers last month, setting Cassell up be a free agent as an assistant this summer. Philadelphia’s new coach, Nick Nurse, likely will be forming his own staff, while Cassell interviewed for several head coaching spots this summer but appears to have come up empty with the only current opening coming in Nurse’s old home of Toronto.
The hiring of Cassell would surely help bring a veteran presence, but wouldn’t be anything long term as he’s been knocking on the door of a head coaching gig for years.
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