Sam Cassell (born November 18, 1969 in Baltimore, Maryland) was obtained by the Mavericks on December 26, 1996 along with Michael Finley, A.C. Green and a second round draft choice from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Jason Kidd, Loren Meyer and Tony Dumas.
Cassell began his college career with two years in Texas at San Jacinto Junior College before transferring to Florida State. With the Seminoles, he posted an 18.4 points per game average as a junior. His next season, however, was a breakout year as he led Florida State to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight while leading the Atlantic Coast Conference in steals.
The Houston Rockets drafted the 6'3 guard in the first round of the 1983 NBA draft. He helped lead the Rockets to two consecutive NBA Championships during his first two seasons. Following a third year in Houston, he was dealt to the Phoenix Suns in the deal that brought Charles Barkley to the Rockets.
He began the 1996-1997 campaign in Phoenix but would become quite the traveling man before that year ended. After 22 games with the Suns, Cassell was traded to Dallas as part of the Jason Kidd deal. His stop in Dallas lasted only 16 games, during which he had a 12.3 ppg average. His high game or Dallas came on January 8, 1997 against Philadelphia when he scored 21 points. Almost as soon as it began, his Mavs career was over as he was traded along with Chris Gatling, Jim Jackson, George McCloud and Eric Montross to the New Jersey Nets in return for Shawn Bradley, Ed O'Bannon, Robert Pack and Khalid Reeves.
After a season and a half with the Nets, Cassell was traded to Milwaukee and it was with the Bucks that he enjoyed his most productive seasons. He quarterbacked Milwaukee to several playoff appearances and in 1999-2000 had his best season in the assist category averaging 9.0 apg per game. His scoring touch also rose and in his final two years with the Bucks he averaged 19.7 ppg.
The following seasons he joined the Minnesota Timberwolves where he saw continued individual success. The best scoring average of his career came in 2003-2004 at 19.8 ppg. That same season he was named to the NBA's Western Conference All-Star team (scoring four points in 13 minutes of action) and was named all-second team NBA.
Cassell had one more season with the Wolves before joining the Los Angeles Clippers for two years and one final campaign with Boston. But what a year it was. For the third time, he was part of an NBA Championship team as the Celtics took the title in 2007-2008.
For his career, Cassell played with eight different teams over 15 seasons. His teams made the playoffs in 11 of his 15 seasons and he saw action in 136 post season contests. He was honored by his college, Florida State, becoming only the fourth Seminole basketball player to have his number retired and was named to the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. Professionally, the Milwaukee Bucks, the team Cassell played with the longest, honored him in 2008 as one of the club's 20 all-time best players as part of the team's 40th anniversary celebration.
In May of 2009, he was named an assistant coach on Flip Saunders' staff with the Washington Wizards.