5 best candidates to replace Billy Donovan as Bulls’ head coach

Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Sam Cassell, Chicago Bulls Head Coach Candidates
Sam Cassell, Chicago Bulls Head Coach Candidates (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

4. Sam Cassell

If Vogel would be right for the job because of his championship ring, how about considering someone who has three of them? Granted, Sam Cassell’s championships came during his playing days, but there’s a reason he’s caught the eye of many owners as one of the up-and-coming head coaching candidates in the NBA today.

Although Cassell has never had the opportunity to be a head coach, he’s compiled 14 years of experience as an assistant for several teams around the league. From John Wall and Bradley Beal’s Wizards, to the Lob City Clippers, and the Joel Embiid-led 76ers, Cassell has always worked around star talent ⁠— which would come in handy for a Bulls team with three All-Star caliber players.

A respected veteran like Sam Cassell could bring stability to the Chicago Bulls.

Cassell’s real appeal, however, comes from his experience as a player. In a career that spanned 15 long years, Cassell developed a reputation as a dependable guard with a high basketball IQ who understood the ins and outs of the game. He had the chance to play alongside NBA legends Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler as a rookie, winning two championships before eventually ending his career with the Celtics in 2008, when Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo made their championship push.

Cassell was a fine player in his own right, however, as he earned All-NBA and All-Star honors in 2004 and averaged an impressive 15.7 points and 6 rebounds over his lengthy career. In fact, Basketball Reference has Cassell on an incredibly similar career trajectory as current Bull DeMar DeRozan, with a 90% similarity score in their win shares per season.

In 2021, Cassell was considered one of the leading candidates for the head coach position for the Washington Wizards. Earlier this year, Cassell also interviewed for the Utah Jazz. Although he ended up settling for an assistant job under Doc Rivers at Philadelphia, Cassell is without a doubt among a select group next in line to lead a team as head coach.