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The Celtics' first step in strengthening Joe Mazzulla's coaching staff proved significant.

Boston's bringing in Sam Cassell, one of the top assistants on the market. The 15-year NBA floor general relates to players, and the respect between the two sides allows him to take a firm approach when necessary.


Since transitioning to a career in coaching, Cassell's experiences include lengthy stints with the Wizards, Clippers, and Sixers, where he's had a hand in developing John Wall, Bradley Beal, Tyrese Maxey, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander before the latter got traded to the Thunder.

The three-time champion, who won an NBA title with the Celtics in 2008, is a home run hire for Boston.

But for a coaching staff undergoing a significant shake-up, with multiple assistants leaving, mostly to reunite with Ime Udoka in Houston, there's more work to do to strengthen the group flanking Mazzulla.


On the Good Word pod on Ball Don't Lie, Vincent Goodwill and Jake Fischer from Yahoo Sports conveyed Bucks assistant Charles Lee is another name on the Celtics' radar.

Lee came with Mike Budenholzer from Atlanta to Milwaukee in 2018. He's one of the top assistant coaches, but he's felt the squeeze from the supply of deserving candidates far exceeding the head coaching jobs that become available.


It seems like stating the obvious to say the Bucks should see if new head coach Adrian Griffin will retain Lee and spend what it takes to keep him like the Suns are doing with Kevin Young. Phoenix is making the latter the NBA's highest-paid assistant, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

But with Milwaukee hiring former bench boss Terry Stotts, a move first reported by Wojnarowski, the top spot's taken on Griffin's staff, indicating it's likely time for Lee to find a new home.

But is Boston the best fit? Given that Cassell's expected to be Mazzulla's top lieutenant, it seems like it would require Lee to accept a role further down the bench.

While this may be a leverage play on his part, most teams already have a lead assistant, so perhaps the Celtics could add Cassell and Lee.

The latter played professionally overseas and worked as an equity trader on Wall Street.

In a 2020 piece profiling noteworthy head coaching candidates, ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz shared the following about Lee.

"Those who have worked with him say he has an intuitive sense of how to inspire improvement from players but also understands high-level strategy and the preparation required to implement it."

With Brad Stevens expressing at his end-of-season press conference his belief that Boston's "small tweaks" from Banner 18, bolstering the coaching staff to help the Celtics go from contenders to champions becomes even more critical.

Kicking off this offseason by hiring two of the NBA's top assistant coaches would represent a grand slam.

Further Reading

Stephen Silas, Target for Celtics Coaching Staff, Signs with Detroit Pistons

Sam Cassell Checks Nearly Every Box in Celtics Search to Strengthen Joe Mazzulla's Coaching Staff

Danny Ainge Discusses Celtics' Unfulfilled Potential

Are the Celtics Small Tweaks from a Title? Brad Stevens Thinks So

Brad Stevens Says Celtics View Jaylen Brown as a 'Big Part of Us Moving Forward'

Brad Stevens Discusses Joe Mazzulla's First Year as Celtics' Bench Boss, Strengthening Coaching Staff: 'Joe's Experience Now, You Could Probably Measure in Dog Years'

Celtics' Coaching Staff Reportedly Undergoing Major Shakeup

Celtics' Championship Aspirations Undermined by Identity Crisis

With Partnership at Crossroads, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum Discuss Former's Future with Celtics

Malcolm Brogdon Explains What Caused Boston Celtics to Miss 2023 NBA Finals