Cassell trade finally comes due

Cassell trade finally comes due
April 24, 2012, 7:30 pm
Share This Post

Washington Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell last played in an NBA game in 2008. The bow on that part of his NBA career should have been tied tight long ago. Think again.Let me explain. First, we have to go back to 2005 when Cassells successful stretch with the Minnesota Timberwolves was winding down. After two seasons there, which included a franchise-best run to the Western Conference finals, the chatty point guard went west to Los Angeles in a late summer deal with the Clippers.Minnesota received Marko Jaric and Lionel Chalmers in exchange for the 35-year-old Cassell and a future first round pick one that was lottery protected for the next six seasons.
Cassells winning spirit perked up the usually moribund Clippers franchise for a bit and made the deal truly one-sided. The Baltimore native called it quits after the 2007-08 season and then hooked up with the Wizards coaching staff for the past three campaigns. Jarics suspect turn in Minnesota lasted three seasons and coincided with the franchises downturn. Nine years younger than the guard he was traded for, Jarics NBA days lasted only one additional season beyond Cassells. No matter where the Serb is in the world these days, we can reasonably assume life is good. How good? Married to supermodel Adriana Lima good. While the principals of the deal have moved on, that matzoh ball of a draft pick remained in the balance. Seeing as in the years after Cassel left Minnesota the Timberwolves went from contenders to comic relief, that pick began to take on mythical status. Perhaps when it was time to cash in, the Clippers would be sitting on the overall number one selection.Now, finally, the pick is protected no more. Not that the Clippers still own it. Not that they care.The pick became a coveted commodity this off-season and ultimately tipped the scales in the headline grabbing trade that sent Chris Paul to the Clippers from the league-run New Orleans Hornets. Now a different playmaking guard has Los Angeles other pro basketball team firmly in the postseason mix.Meanwhile Kevin Love kept the T-Wolves from bottoming out. Assuming no changes in the draft order occur after the ping-pong balls have been picked, we are talking about the Hornets inheriting a late lottery pick. Thats still an asset; just not one that will become Kentucky shot blocker Anthony Davis.So come this June, four years after Cassell last dribbled a ball in a professional game, seven seasons after being traded from the Land of Lakes to Hollywood, we can officially put the cap on an entertaining career. Should that pick jump up in the lottery proceedings and turn into THE PICK, dont blame Sam. His role in that transaction happened a long time ago.