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Will the Lakers be able to hang onto Phil Handy?

One of the most respected assistant coaches in the league, Phil Handy reportedly did not receive an interview for the Lakers head coach opening. Now, will they retain him on their coaching staff?

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New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Somewhat lost amidst the Lakers’ search for their head coach was Phil Handy. Perhaps the only candidate in-house worthy of an interview, Phil Handy expressed a desire to become a head coach, sending a pretty clear signal to the franchise’s front office.

The message may have been received but it wasn’t returned as there were never any reports of Handy receiving an interview for the position. Now, the team may face potential competition to retain him as part of their coaching staff under new head coach Darvin Ham.

According to longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein, the Brooklyn Nets could potentially go after Handy this offseason.

Great curiosity is already bubbling in coaching circles about the sort of staff Ham will assemble with the Lakers. Two primary questions: Will Ham indeed have the autonomy to make all the choices and will be David Fizdale be retained? And another: Will the Lakers keep highly rated developmental coach Phil Handy ... or is Handy potentially Brooklyn-bound? The Nets have a need on the developmental side in the wake of Adam Harrington’s expected departure and Handy, remember, has a strong working history with Nets guard Kyrie Irving from their Cleveland days. If the Nets are bringing Irving back, having Handy on the staff to forge a stronger connection with him would be, well, handy.

Handy has never worked for the Nets but he has been linked to them in the past. When Steve Nash was putting together his staff after taking over in Brooklyn, Handy was reportedly one of the names targeted to join.

But the Lakers were clearly able to hang onto him then and may have to repeat that feat again. Obviously, having a coach on staff with a reputation for player development as strong as Handy’s is huge and has shown on the court in the development of young players like Talen Horton-Tucker, Alex Caruso, Malik Monk and Austin Reaves.

The good news for the Lakers and their fans is that, in the wake of the report that the team had hired Ham, Handy shared his excitement about the news.

Handy’s relationship with Kyrie Irving might be strong but he also has built a strong relationship with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The question now will be whether that’s enough for the franchise to retain his services this offseason.

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