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NBA's Sam Cassell Torn Up Over Flip Saunders ... Gave Me 1st Coaching Job

10/26/2015 6:44 AM PDT

NBA's Sam Cassell -- Torn Up Over Flip Saunders ... Gave Me 1st Coaching Job

EXCLUSIVE

Emotional moment from ex-NBA star Sam Cassell -- who says he's "torn up" over the death of Flip Saunders ... and will always be grateful to the man who gave him his first shot as a coach.  

Back in 2009 -- right after Cassell's playing days came to a close -- Saunders hired Sam as an assistant coach with the Washington Wizards, where he worked for 5 seasons. 

Sam's coaching career has continued to blossom since then -- now he's with the Clippers -- and Sunday, Cassell told TMZ Sports he'll always remember the man who gave him his first opportunity. 

Saunders passed away Sunday. He was 60. 

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