Tags Posts tagged with "Sam Cassell"

Sam Cassell

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Minnesota Timberwolves, Thank you
The fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves a heart felt thank you for all of the support and enthusiasm for the team over the past few years. Photo: shutterstock
I wanted to take a minute to tell the fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves a heart felt thank you for all of the support and enthusiasm for the team over the past few years. Even though the past couple of years had been tough from a wins and losses perspective, when I will think of my time in Minneapolis, I will always think about that 2004 team that almost made it to the NBA Finals. At that time, Kevin Garnett was the MVP of the entire league, Sam Cassell was an All-Star and Latrell Sprewell was one of our emotional leaders. I remember during the playoff run that year how driving to and from games was absolutely crazy with part of downtown shut down so that cars could get through. This was all possible because of you, the fans and your amazing support.

From a different standpoint, Minneapolis has come to feel like an absolute second home for me personally. Having grown up in Northern California, I never really knew much about Minnesota until Kevin McHale and Glen Taylor signed me to play for the Timberwolves. Needless to say, the past several years have been some of the best years of my life and I am grateful for the opportunity, the support from the community and the fact that you truly made me feel at home in new place. Thank you for your friendship and for the giving me the chance to play for the team. When friends from out of town came to visit Minnesota I would always take them to the stone arch bridge downtown, the state Capital, or the Mill City Museum. Exploring new parts of the Twin Cities became one of my passions while I was there.

After I learned of my trade to the LA Clippers, David Kahn left me a voicemail and it was great. To you, the fans, David Kahn is going to do a great job as the General Manager. He is going to tirelessly do everything in his power to return the team to the same form of that special 2004 season. And to Glen Taylor, I express my thanks for allowing me to contribute to a great team. I’m sure that you will get the team back to the high expectations that you and the community have for the team. It has been an honor to play for the team over the past number of years and to be part of your organization.

But above all, I want to thank you the fans. I wish all of you the best and I hope that I will see you down the road and perhaps at a Timberwolves vs. LA Clippers game in the future!

Sincerely,
Mark Madsen

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Trades, Espn.com, Justin Reed, Mike James, Kevin Garnett, Minnesota, Juwan Howard, Houston, Rochester Athletic Club
Last week I lost one two teammates and I gained one. Justin Reed and Mike James were being traded to Houston for Juwan Howard. Photo: alexmillos
Last week I lost one two teammates and I gained one. As I scrolled through ESPN.com last week, I saw the breaking news that Justin Reed and Mike James were being traded to Houston for Juwan Howard. I guess this is the really hard part of the business of NBA basketball. When you go to battle with the same guys every day you get close to them. I’m going to miss Mike and Justin. Clearly, Houston loves Mike James and almost signed him last summer. I think that Justin Reed is only really lacking the right opportunity. It seems like he played really well here for us, especially when he got extended minutes.

Today, I was in Rochester Minnesota giving a “Life in the NBA” talk at Rochester Athletic Club. I can’t remember how many times people asked me if Kevin Garnett was going to get traded, but it was a lot. I really think that there is not going to be any trades involving Kevin Garnett. I sure hope not. I know for a fact that Kevin loves Minnesota and he likes the guys in the locker room. But I’m also aware the realities of professional sports and that from a business standpoint, anything can happen to anyone. The thing about Kevin is that he makes everyone around him better. Three years ago, Sam Cassell had an all-star season, Sprewell had a great year and many other guys on our roster had career years. When you have someone like Kevin Garnett on your team, everyone is going to benefit.

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Los Angeles Clippers, KG , Kevin Garnett, Philadelphia, NBA, training room, Trenton Hassell, Sam Cassell, Randy Foye
Sam Cassell is a American professional basketball player. The 6 ft 3 in, 185 lb point guard was selected out of Florida State University by the Houston Rockets with the 24th overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. Photo: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Tonight we lost a very close game to the Los Angeles Clippers. We were down by one point with 4.3 seconds left and we needed one basket to win the game. During our timeout, Coach Casey drew up a play that got KG open for a pass with time expiring. From my angle, Kevin’s shot looked like it was going in. I thought I was seeing the Philadelphia game all over again with Kevin nailing the last second shot and our team running off the court victorious. Well, Kev’s jumper barely missed and we lost the game. Such is life in the NBA. Kevin wants the ball in those situations. He knows he’s either going to be the hero or the goat and he’s got the courage and the skill for those moments.

I had to ride the bike for 15 minutes in the training room after the game because I need to stay in shape. Kevin and Trenton Hassell were in there too and we kind of talked about what happened throughout the game. Kevin was in his normal spot–on the first training table cooling down and unwinding after the game. Trenton always comes in the training room to change clothes too and to have some privacy from the media. A few minutes later our old buddy Sam Cassell came down to talk. It’s always great to see Sam. He told us about the refs called a foul on him while he was guarding Randy Foye. He said something like this:

“Randy Foye is athletic! Randy Foye jumped over me and almost dunked it! Then the ref called a foul on me! I said, ‘How can it be a foul on me, when he jumped over me!”

Allright well, it’s 1am and I am tired. I can’t think about the game anymore so I’m going to call it a night!

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Sam Cassell, Clippers, Dwayne Wade, Fred Hoiberg, Kevin Garnett, Minnesota, Randy Foye
Sam Cassell is anAmerican professional basketball player. He one of the best players this game has ever seen. Photo: shutterstock.com
In warmups before the game Sammy told me I needed a haircut. I told him I would get him a bottle of Rogaine for his bald head. We both had a good laugh out of it. Sam Cassell is one of my all-time favorite teammates. At halftime of tonight’s game against the Clippers, he walked by Trenton Hassell and I, grinned and said, “I’m hot fellas.” As if his 20 first half points wasn’t evidence enough. Sam Cassell almost put the Clippers on his back and beat us at the Target Center last night. Luckily for us, Randy Foye rose to the ocasion and saved us in the fourth quarter.

I wanted to talk about Sam for a second though because not only is he one of the best players this game has ever seen, but he rubs off on his teammates. From a basketball standpoint, Sam has the ability to raise his teammates’ scoring averages by big jumps. He just makes everyone around him better. When Sam was here in Minnesota, Fred Hoiberg had a great year, Sprewell was at the top of his game and Kevin Garnett was the MVP of the entire NBA. It was almost like our entire team all had career years. Now he is doing the same thing with the Clippers. Sam has such a huge personality, I think the fans loved watching Sam interact with the refs almost as much as watching the game. When we lost Sam we lost not only a great floor leader but we lost a good friend.

I was sad to see him go. I’m not sure Sam could have done anything more to help the Clippers win tonight. But despite his 31 point night, we got a huge lift from an up and coming future star in Randy Foye.

Randy has been patiently awaiting his opportunity to perform in the clutch. Tonight we caught a glimpse of a player who can shoulder some of the load that Kevin Garnett takes on a nightly basis. Randy is built like a tank and his much stronger than most guards in the NBA but is still quicker than most guards too. Randy reminds me of a lot of what I see in Chauncy Billups and Dwayne Wade. Tonight Randy stepped out and hit threes, finished shots around the basket and he came up with some huge rebounds. Randy scored 15 points in the fourth quarter alone!!! The thing that makes Randy the most unusual for a rookie though is his calmness and his level of poise in a big game like tonight’s. Composure is one thing that coaches can’t teach and Randy Foye has it in spades.

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West Coast Trip, Seattle, Portland, L.a., NBA Season, Basketball Trip
Talking about Trip, Wins, Place, Teammates and Players. Photo: shutterstock.com

We needed a couple of wins on our West Coast trip and we got them over the weekend in Seattle and Portland. We felt like we should have gone 3-0 out there, but we had a tough loss in Los Angeles. It’s been a little frustrating in some ways this year, in that we have dropped some games that we were right there in the fourth quarter. Some games we just couldn’t put our opponent away, or others we couldn’t climb all the way back from a deficit.

So it was nice to put together a couple of wins against division rivals on their home floors. We feel that we are capable of not only competing in the Western Conference, but also winning a championship this season. I believe that we have the pieces to do it; it’s just about stringing some wins together and getting a little confidence and momentum going our way.

I’m sure many of you heard or read about our travel troubles on this last trip, but we don’t want to make excuses for not picking up a W in Southern California. We were supposed to fly to Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon of last week, but due to mechanical difficulties with our charter plane, the flight got pushed back until that evening and then eventually to the next day. We did not leave Minnesota until mid-morning on the day of the game versus the Lakers. We arrived in Los Angeles in the early afternoon, only hours before the tip-off. I know many of you fly for business all the time, so I am not going to complain about the way we travel. However, getting off a cross-country flight and playing is not ideal.

After the game against the Lakers we were in the air for about 10 minutes when the pilot came over the loudspeakers and announced that they could not retract the landing gear. He said that it was unstable and that we were heading back to Los Angeles to figure it out. After circling the airport for 90 minutes or so, they decided to do a fly-by past the control tower. I guess the folks in the tower got out their binoculars as we buzzed by at 300 feet to see if the gear was set for a landing. The flight attendants said to prepare for the worst, so obviously there was a little concern on everyone’s face. Needless to say we were all buckled in pretty tight as we came in for a safe landing back where we started.

Normally a flight is the time when we as players can kind of sit back, relax and unwind. In the players’ section you can normally find a group of guys playing dominoes or cards. Last year there were a few guys that were really into chess. Latrell Sprewell is a great player and Gary Trent was just phenomenal as well. Jerry Sichting represents the coaching staff, as he dabbles in the game a little. There are a lot of guys that just want to unwind by watching a DVD. Recently, Fred Hoiberg and Wally Szczerbiak had not seen the movie Napoleon Dynamite, so I brought it along. They both gave their critique of it. I will say one liked it way more than the other, but I won’t reveal the bigger fan. There are a few guys that like to play computer games against each other. The thing that I enjoy most is when we get in a cabin-wide discussion of a variety of topics, or when KG, Erv Johnson or Sam Cassell tell stories about different guys they have played against during their careers.

One of the memorable events from this last trip was that KG had food catered on the plane from an upscale restaurant. We got to have steak and chicken and all the good things that go with them. While KG’s gesture was very generous, it is even more so when he is the one who is serving the food to everyone. He doesn’t get his own plate until everyone else has eaten and is situated and comfortable for the flight. The thing that really stands out is the way Kevin treats people. On every team or in every organization there is a hierarchy of players or workers and usually everyone knows where they stand. In our hierarchy, KG is definitely the top dog. He demands the best from everyone in our locker room, but he is also outstanding at communicating with everyone on the team and he really just wants to see us all succeed. I truly believe that he is one of the best leaders in professional sports.

I look forward to writing this diary every week and will do my best to give you readers an inside glimpse into an NBA season. Until next week take care.

— Mark Madsen