SALT LAKE TOWN – As Utah Jazz undergoes a coaching search for the first time in eight seasons, KSL Sports delves deeper into every candidate interviewed for the job.
So far, the list includes many former NBA head coaches, assistants who already have ties to Jazz, and several other prominent NBA names.
In the second breakdown of the series, let’s take a look at longtime NBA player and assistant coach Sam Kassel.
Candidate for jazz coach: Sam Kassel
Sam Kassel is the latest candidate reportedly interviewing Jazz for their vacancy as head coach.
On Wednesday, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweeted that the franchise will be looking at the current Philadelphia 76ers assistant during their first round of interviews.
Kassel has one of the most unique resumes of the Jazz candidates, having a long and successful career in the NBA as a player before becoming one of the most established assistant coaches in the league.
In 2009, the former defender began his coaching career with the late Flip Saunders in the Washington Wizards. Kassel played for the Saunders for two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the early 2000s.
Kassel was with the Wizards when they selected John Wall as the best pick in 2010 and helped turn the defender into an All-Star before joining the Los Angeles Clippers coaching staff in 2014.
In Los Angeles, as a coach under Doc Rivers, Kassel worked with Chris Paul for three seasons and saw the Clippers enter the playoffs in five of his six years in the organization.
In 2020, Kassel followed Rivers to Philadelphia, where he was an assistant to the 76ers for the past two seasons.
Game Career of Sam Kassel
Although he played for eight teams during his 15-year NBA career, Kassel was considered one of the most stable guard points in the league.
Kassel made a quick impact in the NBA, appearing in 66 rookie games with eventual champions Houston Rockets.
The guard will appear in all 82 games during his second year with the Rockets and would average 11.0 points and 4.0 assists during their second playoffs.
Kassel will play another season with the Rockets before being exchanged for the Phoenix Suns in a package for Charles Barkley in 1996. The guard will be quickly reassigned to the Dallas Mavericks and back to the New Jersey Nets in the 1996-97 season.
He was in New Jersey, where Castle became a full-time starter, but was replaced again at the Milwaukee Bucks in 1999, where he will continue to play some of the best basketball of his career.
Castle averaged 19.0 points and 7.2 rebounds in 312 games with the Bucks, nearly leading the team to the 2001 NBA Finals.
After five seasons in Milwaukee, Kassel was sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he also took the list to new heights, helping Kevin Garnett and Latrell Spruel reach the Western Conference finals.
Castle was declared an All-Star and won honors for the second All-NBA team in 2004, but a back injury limited him to the conference finals, where the Timberwolves were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers.
The guard continued to play two and a half seasons with the Clippers before joining the Boston Celtics as a free agent in 2008, where Kassel will win his third championship as a reserve guard for the team.
In total, Castle averaged 15.7 points and 6.0 assists in his 15-year career.