Darvin Ham earned his first big win as Lakers head coach on Tuesday by retaining Phil Handy from last season’s coaching staff, according to multiple reports. Handy, one of the most respected assistants in the league, will be joined by Quinton Crawford as the holdovers from last season’s coaching staff.
Phil Handy, one of the top assistants in the league, has accepted the invitation of new Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham to be a part of his coaching staff, league sources tell @YahooSports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 7, 2022
As reported in Adrian Wojnarowski’s article, the news came directly on the heels of the team informing the likes of David Fizdale, Mike Penberthy and John Lucas III that they would not be retained next season.
Handy’s retention, however, is a huge win for the Lakers in their assembly of a new coaching staff. There was some uncertainty about whether he would return to the Lakers, particularly after expressing an interest in becoming a head coach. But after not receiving an interview or much consideration for either the Lakers’ job or any other opening around the league, he will return to Los Angeles as part of Ham’s staff.
Crawford will return to the Lakers for his fourth consecutive season on their bench. Last year, Crawford served as the team’s head coach during Summer League, helming the squad that gave Laker fans their first glimpse at Austin Reaves.
Ham, now, will look outside the organization to fill out the remainder of his coaching staff. There are any number of names that could be considered, including some of those that were interviewed during the search for a head coach. So far, only Rasheed Wallace has been linked to a role as an assistant coach with the Lakers, though Shams Charania of The Athletic walked back his apparently premature initial report of Sheed’s hiring.