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Lakers hire new head trainer, finalize assistant coaching staff

The Lakers made a few reported moves official this week, hiring David Fizdale and John Lucas III while also bringing in a new head athletic trainer.

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Brooklyn Nets v New York Knicks Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers made a series of moves official on the sidelines on Wednesday, both with their coaching staff and training staffs.

On the coaching front, the announcements of both David Fizdale and John Lucas III did not come as a surprise, as each had been reported in the weeks and months prior. Fizdale joins after spending multiple years away from the sidelines. He last coached the New York Knicks before being fired on Dec. 6, 2019. Since that firing, he has not served as either a head or assistant coach.

Lucas, meanwhile, served as a player development coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2017-19 but has not held a position since. He also played eight years in the league, suiting up for the Timberwolves, Pistons, Jazz, Raptors, Bulls and Rockets.

The Lakers lost two assistant coaches this offseason in Jason Kidd — who was named the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks — and Lionel Hollins. Fizdale filled one of those vacancies, while Mike Penberthy was promoted to the other. Lucas replaced the player development role left by Penberthy in the musical chairs of the Lakers coaching staff.

The franchise also announced the hiring of a new head athletic trainer in Roger Sancho and the promotion to head strength and conditioning coach for Ed Streit, moves that had not been previously reported.

From the press release on their hirings:

Sancho most recently spent seven seasons with the Golden State Warriors, including the past five seasons as an assistant athletic trainer. Sancho began his time with the Warriors during the 2014-15 season as the head athletic trainer for the Santa Cruz Warriors. The Sulphur Springs, Texas native earned his bachelor’s degree in athletic training from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2012 and his master’s degree from Baylor in 2014.

Streit was named to his new role after serving as an assistant strength & conditioning coach for the team since the 2019-20 season. Prior to joining Los Angeles, Streit spent the 2018-19 season as the head strength and conditioning coach for Dayton’s men basketball and served in the same role during the 2017-18 season at the University of Connecticut. Streit also spent three-and-a-half years with the Chicago Bulls on their strength and conditioning staff.

Sancho replaces Nina Hsieh, who served as the athletic trainer the last two seasons but did not have her contract renewed at season’s end, as reported earlier this year by Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Since the retirement of Gary Vitti, who served as the Lakers’ trainer for 32 years before departing simultaneously with Kobe Bryant in 2016, the Lakers have now shuffled through multiple trainers.

Given the injury woes suffered last season, a particular focus will be placed on the health of the team this season. Fortunately — and hopefully — the Lakers can only go up in terms of injury luck after a brutal 2020-21 season in that regard.

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