The Celtics’ hiring of Sam Cassell as an assistant coach has been mostly met with acclaim. He brings a lot of experience to Boston’s bench as both a player who won three NBA championships (including one with the Celtics in 2008) and a coach who has been an assistant for the past 14 years.
Jermaine Wiggins isn’t as excited about the move, though. On The Greg Hill Show Tuesday morning, Wiggy said he foresees tension between Cassell and head coach Joe Mazzulla, who may now be looking over his shoulder.
“I think it’s a bad move that the Celtics hired him,” Wiggy said (listen to the full discussion in the clip above starting right off the top). “First off, I don’t think that he’s a Mazzulla guy. I think Mazzulla clearly was a Brad Stevens guy. And if you look at Mazzulla’s track record of where he’s been, their paths [Mazzulla and Cassell’s] have never really crossed. If you’re Joe Mazzulla, do you want to be looking over your shoulder at a three-time [champion] in Sam Cassell?”
Greg: “A guy who very recently was considered for several head coaching positions in the NBA.”
Wiggy: “Yes. And you are a young 34-year-old who is trying to make his way in this game, and they insert Sam Cassell. I think this is more of a Wyc [Grousbeck] hire, because Sam Cassell played for the Celtics, Wyc was the owner at the time. Do you want that if you’re Joe Mazzulla? People say, ‘Oh it’s great, it’s great.’ Well, how is it great when you’re Joe Mazzulla, the head coach, a young guy who’s trying to earn the respect of his superstars, yet you have a guy like Sam Cassell and people are praising this guy?”
Greg: “Do you think it’s likely Joe Mazzulla had any say in the matter?”
Wiggy: “I don’t think so. I think this was a decision that was made by Wyc where they say, ‘Oh we have to get a veteran guy on the bench.’ Yeah, that’s one thing when your coach is Doc Rivers or a [Mike] Budenholzer or a Nick Nurse, somebody who’s already established. But to have a guy like Sam Cassell on the bench, I know if I was Joe Mazzulla, I’d be looking over my shoulder. Because as soon as things get a little rocky, what do you think people are gonna be saying?”
The obvious answer is that fans and media alike will be calling for Mazzulla to be fired and Cassell to replace him.
Listen to the full conversation in the player above, with Wiggy’s “lead” beginning right at the start.