When a frustrated Steve Ballmer fired Doc Rivers based on the results from an unprecedented bubble year, the buzz became that a Clipper assistant would move up and into the big chair.
That assistant may turn out to be Sam Cassell, who interviewed for the Clippers job, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Cassell’s name has come up in other coaching searches, such as Houston where he played in the NBA, and he’s the kind of long-time assistant coach who deserves a shot at the top seat somewhere.
That just may not be the Clippers. There is no more “win now” organization than this Los Angeles team right now — both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can leave after next season — and handing the reins over to a first-time coach seems unlikely at best.
Tyronn Lue, Doc Rivers’ top assistant last season, was always the first name mentioned with this job. He has a ring as a coach, he has a relationship with Leonard and George, and he knows the organization. Beyond that, Mike Brown impressed at his interview and has a real chance to land the job after four years as Steve Kerr’s assistant at Golden State. Jeff Van Gundy’s name is in the mix.
The one advantage the Clippers have in this search is Ballmer — he can and will pay top dollar for his man. The coaches know that, but they also know the pressure that comes with this job.
Sam Cassell never backed away from pressure and he’d love the Clippers job.