The Lakers continue to beef up their coaching staff and are reportedly hiring Phil Handy as an assistant coach for Frank Vogel.
The Lakers are hiring Phil Handy as an assistant coach, a source said. The former Raptors assistant will be at the front of the bench with the Lakers. He also coached in five straight NBA Finals winning two titles.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) July 14, 2019
Handy has spent the last eight years as an assistant coach in the NBA, specializing in skill development for players. He was on Nick Nurse’s bench in Toronto last season, winning a title with the Raptors, and spent the previous five seasons in Cleveland. That means that Handy has coached in the last five NBA Finals, the only coach outside of Golden State who can lay claim to that streak.
The newest Lakers coach had his first NBA job with this organization when Mike Brown hired him to be the player development coach for the Lakers in 2011. Brown then brought Handy to the Cavaliers with him when he took that job in 2013. As a result, Handy has strong relationships with some of the biggest stars in the game, including Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, and current Laker LeBron James.
James was thrilled by the announcement, knowing what Handy brings after winning a title with him in 2016.
Players around the league hold Handy in high regard, as reflected in one of the most popular images of the 2018 offseason. Handy had a workout with his former pupil James, along with Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard (and Cedi Osman), and the picture of that event caused a storm on social media.
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Work is work. It don’t what matter what team we represent the @nba is a family. True professionals all trying to #perfectourcraft @kingjames @cediosman @easymoneysniper @itsjerms_33 @rmbwilliams @boch2boch and the ghost #kawhileonard ... #hardworkisundefeated #ilovethisgame #theworkisreal
When the Lakers parted ways with Luke Walton at the end of last season, one of their complaints was that Walton was unwilling to improve the quality of his coaching bench. Other than Brian Shaw, whose best years came nearly a decade earlier under Phil Jackson, none of his assistants had experienced real success at the NBA level.
Vogel presents a marked contrast to Walton and has been more than willing to add several respected coaches to his staff, including Lionel Hollins and Ron Adams (though the latter refused), and now Handy. The Lakers may have been limited in who they could add to their roster by the salary cap, but no such restrictions exist for coaches, and Handy is a strong addition who can help Vogel.
The Lakers' assistant coaching ranks now feature Handy, Hollins, Jason Kidd and Miles Simon.
The offseason got off to a strange start in Los Angeles, but the Lakers have pivoted well since. Handy rejoining the Lakers is a sign that the front office continues to move in the right direction.