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Samuel James "Sam" Cassell (born November 18, 1969 in Baltimoremarker, Marylandmarker), is a retired Americanmarker professional basketball player who is an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards. The , point guard was selected out of Florida State Universitymarker by the Houston Rockets with the 24th overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. He won two NBA Championships in his first two seasons in the league as a member of the Rockets, and his third with the Boston Celtics in 2008. He was voted into the NBA All-Star Game and All-NBA Team once, both in the 2003-04 season. He played for the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers.


After graduating from Dunbar High School in Baltimoremarker, Marylandmarker, Cassell was successfully recruited to attend DePaul Universitymarker. He was declared academically ineligible based on National Collegiate Athletic Association Proposition 48 standards, and ended up starting his college career at San Jacinto College in Texasmarker, where he was known as a big scorer. He moved on to Florida State Universitymarker for his junior and senior years. In his senior year in 1992-93, he averaged 18.3 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game and led the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in steals. Cassell and teammate Bob Sura formed the highest scoring and rebounding backcourt in the nation with 38.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Cassell's 1992-93 Seminoles team finished with a 25-10 record and advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to the Kentucky Wildcats.

On February 14, 2008, in a loss to Wake Forest, Cassell's jersey was retired by Florida State.


First years

Cassell was selected out of Florida State Universitymarker with the 24th overall pick of the 1993 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets as eventual successor to Kenny Smith at the point guard position. Eventually, he split point guard duties with Smith in 1994 and 1995, his first two seasons in the league, and helped the Rockets win two NBA Championships. After the 1995-96 season, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns, along with Robert Horry, Chucky Brown and Mark Bryant, in exchange for Charles Barkley, but his tenure there was brief, as he appeared in just 22 games for the Suns.

On December 27, 1996, he was traded along with Michael Finley, A.C. Green and a second-round draft pick to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Jason Kidd, Tony Dumas and Loren Meyer. Midway through the 1996-97 season, after appearing in 16 games for the Mavericks, he was traded with Chris Gatling, Jim Jackson, George McCloud and Eric Montross to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for Shawn Bradley, Ed O'Bannon, Robert Pack and Khalid Reeves on February 17, 1997. Following the season, he elected to re-sign with the Nets.

Milwaukee Bucks

Midway through the 1998-99 season, he was dealt again, for the fourth time in 6 seasons, in a three-way trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, which sent him to the Milwaukee Bucks along with Brian Evans, Chris Gatling, a 1999 first-round draft pick and a future first-round draft pick on March 11, 1999. On March 3, 2001, he scored his career-high of 40 points against the Chicago Bulls. During All-Star Weekend in 2001, he won the Fleer Shootout at Jam Session on All-Star Saturday. He almost reached the NBA Finals with the Bucks in 2001, falling just short when they lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers. During the 2002-03 season, he passed 10,000 points for his career.

Minnesota Timberwolves

After spending 4 seasons with the Bucks, he was traded along with Ervin Johnson to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Joe Smith and Anthony Peeler following the 2002-03 season. He arguably had his best season in 2003-04, when he was named to the All-NBA Second Team and All-Interview Second Team, and voted into the 2004 NBA All-Star Game. He helped the Timberwolves to reach the 2004 Western Conference Finals.

Los Angeles Clippers

After the 2004-05 season, the Timberwolves traded him and a conditional first-round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Marko Jaric and Lionel Chalmers. Cassell appeared to have found a home with the Clippers, as he led them to the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2006 Playoffs. In the First Round, they beat the Denver Nuggets in five games, but would eventually fall to the Phoenix Suns in a 127-107 blowout in Game 7. Before the 2006-07 season, Cassell was tempted to take a two-year, $15M offer from the Atlanta Hawks, but eventually re-signed with the Clippers on a two-year, $13M deal.

Buyout limbo

Throughout the 2007-08 season, it had been rumored that Cassell would get bought out of his contract with the Clippers, especially after they let the trade deadline pass without dealing him. Cassell first denied that he was pushing strongly towards a buyout, but eventually acknowledged his buyout talks with the Clippers. On February 26, 2008, it was reported that the Clippers would officially announce the buyout later that day, but that did not happen, and only some days later the interests of both parties were reported to be far apart. Cassell would have to walk away from all of his remaining salary to receive a buyout, and initially was not ready to do so. But on February 28, 2008, the Clippers reached a contractual buyout agreement with Cassell and placed him on waivers. According to the agreement, Cassell received half of his remaining salary, roughly $850,000.

Boston Celtics

Cassell became an unrestricted free agent on March 3, 2008, 6 p.m. ET, when he cleared waivers, and was eligible to sign with a team of his choice. Although the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns were interested in his services, he was strongly linked with a poised move to the Boston Celtics and was expected to be in Boston once he cleared waivers. On March 1, 2008, Cassell's agent, David Falk, confirmed that Cassell would sign a contract with the Celtics for the remainder of the season if he cleared waivers, receiving a prorated amount of the veteran minimum of $1.2M. Cassell said that he would wear either No. 28 or No. 91 on his jersey, and eventually chose No. 28.

According to his agent, Cassell had signed a contract with the Celtics on March 3, 2008, but the signing was pending an official league announcement. His arrival was delayed because of a death in his family. On March 4, 2008, Cassell officially signed with the Celtics, but immediately flew back to his hometown of Baltimoremarker to attend funeral services for his deceased family member. He made his debut against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 10, 2008.

On March 17, 2008, Cassell had a standout performance in a Saint Patrick's Day matchup against the San Antonio Spurs, when he led the team from a 22-point deficit to a 2-point victory, scoring 17 points and hitting a clutch shot late in the game.

On March 28, 2008, Cassell was honored as the 9th best of the 20 greatest players in Milwaukee Bucks history during the team's 40th Anniversary Team Celebration, but could not attend the festivities because of the Celtics' game against the New Orleans Hornets.

Sacramento Kings

On February 17, 2009 Cassell was traded to the Sacramento Kings for a conditional second-round draft pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. One day later, Kings waived Cassell, along with Quincy Douby, in order to make room for the players acquired in the Miller/Salmons to the Bulls trade.

Assistant Coach

On May 21, 2009, Cassell was named assistant coach under Flip Saunders of the Washington Wizards.


Cassell is known for his feistiness and outgoing personality. He was one of the Milwaukee Bucks' "Big Three", alongside Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson, that reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001. In Minnesota, he was an integral part of the team, as he and his teammates were led by 2003-04 MVP Kevin Garnett to the 2004 Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. Coincidentally, both Allen and Garnett, alongside resident star Paul Pierce, would become Cassell's teammates with the Boston Celtics, and helped them win the 2008 NBA Finals.


Cassell appeared on TNT's NBA Fundamentals series, in which basketball players describe certain aspects of the game. He was chosen to illustrate the "mid-range game", i.e. shooting from the area around the free throw line, the paint, the wings and the baseline. In this clip, Cassell explains how to post up against opposing guards, shoot pull-up jump shots and hit buzzer beaters. He admires retired NBA players Terrell Brandon and Jeff Hornacek, two prolific mid-range shooters after whom he modeled his game.


  1. Mullin, Jeff. "Sutton victim of Joey Meyer syndrome," Enid (OK) News & Eagle, Wednesday, April 2, 2008.
  2. Cassell's 1992-93 Seminoles team
  4. Jonathan Abrams, Cassell denies aggressive bid for a buyout, Los Angeles Times, February 8, 2008.
  5. Jonathan Abrams, Cassell confirms buyout talks with Clippers, Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2008.
  6. Peter May, Cassell drawing interest, The Boston Globe, February 26, 2008.
  7. Jonathan Abrams, Sides are far apart in deciding Cassell's fate, February 28, 2008.
  8. Clippers Waive Guard Sam Cassell,, February 28, 2008.
  9. Injury-prone Cassell released by the Clippers, Associated Press, February 28, 2008.
  10. Jonathan Abrams, Cassell finally gets his contract buyout, February 29, 2008.
  11. Marc J. Spears, Cassell gets buyout; next stop Boston?, The Boston Globe, February 28, 2008.
  12. Mark Murphy, Waiting for right time on Cassell, Boston Herald, February 29, 2008.
  13. Marc J. Spears, Cassell: Clear to here?, The Boston Globe, March 1, 2008.
  14. Steve Bulpett, Cassell is on hold, Boston Herald, March 9, 2008.
  15. Peter May, Cassell clears waivers, signs with Celtics, The Boston Globe, March 3, 2008.
  16. Former Clipper Cassell expected to officially join Celtics Tuesday,, March 3, 2008.
  17. Steve Bulpett, Cassell clears waivers, heading to Hub, Boston Herald, March 3, 2008.
  18. Celtics Sign Guard Sam Cassell,, March 4, 2008.
  19. Celtics Insider, Cassell here and gone, Boston Herald, March 4, 2008.
  20. Marc J. Spears, Cassell update, The Boston Globe, March 4, 2008.
  21. Marc J. Spears, Sam Dunk - Cassell's clutch shot helps Celtics top Spurs, The Boston Globe, March 18, 2008.
  22. John Schuhmann, Sam Cassell Makes Shots,, March 17, 2008.
  23. 40th Anniversary Main Page,, March 26, 2008.
  24. Charles F. Gardner, Forward march: Dandridge proud of legacy he left with team, JS Online, March 28, 2008.
  26. Cassell knows how to sell it, Los Angeles Daily News
  27. NBA Fundamentals: Sam Cassell - Mid-Range on

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