Lakers Rumors: Nets to Pursue LA's Phil Handy for Steve Nash's Staff

Jenna CiccotelliContributor ISeptember 10, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers assistant coaches Phil Handy, Lionel Hollins, head coach Frank Vogel, assistant coach Jason Kidd and trainer Nina Hsieh, from left, during an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)
Michael Owen Baker/Associated Press

With last week's announcement of Steve Nash as the Nets' new head coach, the focus in Brooklyn is shifting to building out the coaching staff. 

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Los Angeles Lakers assistant Phil Handy is among the candidates being considered for an assistant role in Brooklyn. Jacque Vaughn, who served as the Nets interim head coach after Kenny Atkinson's departure, will serve as the lead assistant.

Handy, 49, began his coaching career with the Lakers, working under Mike Brown in player development during the 2011-12 season. There, he worked directly with Nash, who was acquired by the Lakers in 2012 and closed out his playing career in Los Angeles.

Handy moved on to Cleveland in 2013, where he served as an assistant coach, and joined the Raptors as an assistant to Nick Nurse for the 2018-19 season. He rejoined the Lakers this year after helping lead teams to five consecutive NBA Finals—2015-18 with Cleveland, and 2019 with Toronto.

As Cleveland worked its way back to a league title in 2016, Kyrie Irving credited Handy, then an assistant/player development coach with the Cavaliers, with turning the team around in a postgame speech after a 110-77 loss to Golden State in Game 2.

"It was a man-to-man speech that needed to be said, that we all understood in order to, kind of, will ourselves to understand that we still have a chance in this series," Irving told The Undefeated in 2016. 

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The Cavaliers came back with a 120-90 win in Game 3 and rallied to win the title in seven games.

"Coach Handy has done an unbelievable job," Irving said. "He's kind of the one who introduced the relationship and mentorship that I have with Kobe [Bryant]. And in terms of working out late nights, doing whatever it takes to win, learning how to lead, understanding the nuances of the game and understanding what it takes to be a great player in this league, [Handy's] really kind of put down the foundation and steps."

Handy played professionally in the United Kingdom, Australia and Israel before he became a basketball trainer.