The Houston Rockets are getting bolder in their pursuit of a head coach that rumors are swelling that they have offered the job to their former player and current Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell.
Numerous sources stated that Rockets’ interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff has officially backed out as one of the candidates for the post in order for the team to pursue and interview candidates who are well fit for the full time job.
According to The Vertical, Bickerstaff is looking for an assistant coach role with other teams as one league source confirms that the Rockets on Wednesday have reached out to Cassell, Houston assistant Chris Finch and Philadelphia 76ers assistant Mike D’Antoni, though the team has still to announce who their choice.
The league source also did not discount the possibility of the return of former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, who remains as the top contender to land the job as well. Cassell is no stranger to the game of basketball having played with the Rockets from 1993 to 1996 after he was drafted 24th overall in the NBA Draft.
Since taking over the chores after Kevin McHale was fired in November, Bickerstaff and the Rockets went 37-34. He led the Rockets to an eighth-place finish in the Western Conference and suffered a 4-1 playoff series loss to the Golden State Warriors in the first round.
After his stint with the Rockets, Cassell began his NBA journey playing for the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics. After his gig as a player, Cassell then focused on being an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards and then with the Clippers.
Cassell is also a member of the Rockets back-to-back championship and went on to win his third with the Celtics back in 2008. During his playing years, he was considered a deadly clutch shooter and with his skills and knowledge he could also easily impart it players of this generation.
Aside from Cassell, Finch, D’Antoni and Van Gundy, the Rockets are also looking at potential collegiate coaches who are available for the job as well. League sources stated that the Rockets have made their search for a head coach on a wider-scale to eventually find the right guy for the job.
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