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Gilbert and Cassell Have a History

(TWP file photo by Jonathan Newton)

Sam Cassell had a retirement ball in Baltimore over the weekend that at least one Wiz player (Javaris Crittenton) attended. Nice life, when you can have your retirement ball before your 40th birthday, no? That also was an excuse for the Baltimore Sun to write a profile of Cassell, who grew up in Baltimore (while dreaming of one day being a Knick or 76er), played at Dunbar High for Bob Wade (yeah, that Bob Wade), still has a home there, and sends his son to Towson Catholic.

"I know the chemistry of the game," he told the Sun. "Coaching in the NBA is about more than X's and O's. It's about managing guys."

Presumably, he'll play no small role in managing a certain offensive-minded point guard, which reminded me that Gilbert and Cassell have a history. Of course, there was the one when both of them were down at Barry Farms for the same summer league game.

"For him to come out here, where people can't afford a ticket to a Wizards' game, tells you who Gilbert is and what he is about," said Cassell told Mike Wise at the time.

There was also Gilbert's arrival in D.C., when he spent his first three weeks as a Wizard playing pick-up games in Chinatown with a group that included Steve Francis, Chris Wilcox, Sam Cassell, Tony Massenburg and others,

But here's the headliner: when Gilbert accidentally took a back-handed swipe at LeBron James in front of an undercover CSTV blogger back in the winter of '07 , the set-up man was Sam Cassell.

"The guy LeBron needs is Sam Cassell," Arenas said. "He needs someone who wants to take the big shots at the end of the game." I interject that LeBron would never stand for that -- it would kill his ego. "LeBron would much rather have Cassell take the final shot," says Arenas. "People don't realize that LeBron doesn't want it."

Of course, Gilbert then entered full "wait, what did I say?" mode.

"I was asked what was wrong with the Cavaliers and LeBron, and I said nothing was wrong with the Cavaliers because they have the second best record in the East," Arenas later clarified to the Plain-Dealer. "I also said that someone like Sam Cassell would fit right in with LeBron because Cassell would take fourth-quarter shots and that would open up [James' game] more. That would give them two players who can take the big shot in the fourth quarter. I don't know why that brought up so much hoopla."

Yeah. Seriously. Why would it cause so much hoopla when one all-star accuses another international superstar of not wanting to take the last shot? Anyhow, Cassell was an unwilling participant in that particular storyline, but I'm guessing it's no later that sometime before his 40th birthday this winter he becomes a willing participant in a "just for fun!" shooting competition against either DeShawn Stevenson or Arenas, possibly allowing reporters to see exactly how large is Cassell's intestinal fortitude.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 29, 2009; 10:28 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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In addition to this Gilbert in one interview also recalled how as a rookie Sam Cassell was so deft and crafty that he got Gil into foul trouble and caused Gil to be subbed out. It was pretty good stuff. Gil clearly respects Sam and since he understand that Sam knows exactly how to play effectively without having high-level athleticism, Cassell may be able to help Gil become a better all-around player.

Posted by: the_truth2 | June 29, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

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