Phil Handy

Nets Looking For Veteran Assistant Coaches

The Nets will try to add experienced coaches to Steve Nash’s staff, Shams Charania of The Athletic said in an appearance on Stadium (video tweeted by Billy Reinhardt of NetsDaily). Charania mentioned ABC/ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy and Lakers assistant Phil Handy as two possibilities.

Brooklyn considered Van Gundy as a potential head coach before hiring Nash last week, Charania adds. The 58-year-old hasn’t coached in the NBA since the 2006/07 season with Houston and has built a successful career in television. However, he did lead Team USA at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup tournament and the qualifiers for last year’s World Cup and he may be tempted to join a team that figures to be in title contention when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are both healthy next season.

Handy, 49, has been in the league for the past decade, breaking in as a player development coach with the Lakers. He also served as an assistant with the Cavaliers and Raptors before coming back to L.A. when Frank Vogel was hired last summer.

The Nets filled one spot on Nash’s staff when they retained interim coach Jacque Vaughn as lead assistant. Keeping Vaughn was “critical,” according to Charania, who says Vaughn’s relationship with Durant has improved over the past few weeks. He adds that Vaughn likely would have become the head coach if Nash hadn’t agreed to take the job.

Nets Notes: Coaching Staff, KG, Durant, Harris

New Nets head coach Steve Nash and the team’s front office are seeking out assistants to join the former two-time MVP’s coaching staff, including Lakers assistant Phil Handy, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

2019/20 interim Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn will stay on staff as the team’s lead assistant during the 2020/21 season. Nash, an eight-time All-Star, joined the Nets staff last week in a surprising hire.

Here are more notes out of Brooklyn:

  • Former Nets forward (and Hall of Famer) Kevin Garnett, a 15-time All-Star, has said that he believes Brooklyn should look to trade for a high-level scoring wing like Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine or Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal to join current Brooklyn All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, according to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.
  • Kevin Durant expressed his enthusiasm for new coach Steve Nash‘s addition to the Brooklyn sideline, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “His insight for the game, his communication, how he communicates the game of basketball is definitely going to help me as a player develop and it’s going to help the rest of the team,” Durant said in a new episode of Pelicans swingman J.J. Redick‘s “The Old Man and the Three” podcast.
  • The addition of Nash may help convince Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris to stick around as he enters unrestricted free agency this summer, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “I met with him the other day, grabbed a coffee with him and [team president] Sean [Marks],” Harris said during a recent conversation with “The JWilly Show” podcast. “And he just talked about how he felt about me as a player and wanted me to come back and be in Brooklyn.”

Tyronn Lue The Best Choice For Brooklyn?

Tyronn Lue is expected to receive serious consideration to become the next head coach of the Nets, with oddsmakers in Las Vegas listing him as the early favorite, writes Greg Logan of Newsday. Brooklyn will be in the market for a coach once the season officially ends after parting ways with Kenny Atkinson last weekend.

Lue’s previous experience coaching Kyrie Irving in Cleveland makes him an obvious candidate, and current Laker Jared Dudley believes a reunion could be successful.

“T. Lue respected Kyrie,” Dudley said. “He loved Kyrie. He wanted the best for him. Every time he talked to him, it might be to calm down a situation and show him what he wanted. I could easily see it. T. Lue can walk into a room and every player is going to ‘dap’ him up because they respect him. Every ex-player who becomes a coach doesn’t always get the respect, but he put the work in.”

Lue was briefly the front-runner for the Lakers’ head coaching job last year, but he turned down an offer because he wanted a longer commitment and more say in hiring his staff. He eventually accepted a job with the Clippers as Doc Rivers’ lead assistant.

Another possible candidate is Lakers assistant Phil Handy, who was a developmental coach in Cleveland when Irving was there. Irving tried to convince him to join Brooklyn’s staff last summer, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Lewis talked to Nets guard Joe Harris, another former Cavalier, who gave strong endorsements to Lue and Handy.

“They’re both excellent coaches, Ty Lue especially,” Harris said. “Playing in this league, being an assistant for a long time, just the way he was able to relate with the players, especially just day-to day was pretty unique in terms of a coaching perspective. I always liked that about him, just his ability to jell and mesh with everybody. He seemed like, to me, to be one of those guys when he did play he was probably close with everybody in the locker room, just the way he was able to interact with every single guy on the team.”

Lakers Officially Announce Coaching Staff

The Lakers have officially announced the assistant coaches who will join new head coach Frank Vogel on the team’s bench this season.

As expected, former head coaches Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins are the headliners of the group. Their deals with the team were previously reported, as was Phil Handy‘s. Handy has appeared in five consecutive NBA Finals, having coached in Cleveland before joining the Raptors for the 2018/19 season.

The Lakers also confirmed the previously-reported hirings of former Lakers player Mike Penberthy and former Hornets player development coach Quinton Crawford, both of whom will be assistants. Miles Simon will be the only returning assistant from last season’s staff.

“I could not be more excited about the group we’ve assembled,” Vogel said in a statement. “Each of these guys brings a unique set of skills and experiences that will greatly impact the success of our players, as we look to build a championship-caliber team.”

The Lakers also announced that they’ve hired Greg St. Jean as a player development coach/advance scout and Dru Anthrop as the team’s head video coordinator/player development coach.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Howard, Handy, Horton-Tucker

When Team USA named its 20-man training camp roster for the 2019 World Cup last month, Anthony Davis‘ name was on that list. However, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the new Lakers star will remove his name from consideration for USA Basketball’s World Cup roster.

As Haynes explains, Davis won’t participate in training camp with Team USA because he wants to spend the bulk of his offseason preparing to attempt a championship run with his new team. The former Pelicans big man remains committed to playing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, sources tell Haynes.

Davis, a gold medalist in 2012 (Olympics) and 2014 (World Cup), will still attend Team USA’s training camp next month to support his teammates, per Haynes. It’s not clear if USA Basketball has a 20th man lined up to replace AD — the club will eventually pare that group down to 12 players for the World Cup itself.

Here’s more on the Lakers and Davis:

  • In a conversation with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Davis said that Lakers GM Rob Pelinka was calling him every “30 to 45 minutes” during free agency. “Rob would call me: ‘AD, what you think about him?’ ‘All right, cool,'” Davis said. “Right back, ‘AD, you know, this is what is going on with him.’ ‘All right, cool. All right.’ Sometimes I had to tell him, like, ‘Rob, I’m in the movies.’ He’d be, like, ‘All right, well, call me as soon as you get out.’ But we’re trying to put the best team around us, and I think he did a great job of doing it.”
  • Speaking to Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times, veteran center Dwight Howard – who technically remains under contract with the Grizzlies for now – said he wouldn’t mind playing in Los Angeles again, either for the Lakers or Clippers. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do love L.A.,” Howard said. “Staples Center is going to be rocking this season.”
  • The Lakers are hiring veteran assistant coach Phil Handy to join Frank Vogel‘s staff, reports Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). Handy has appeared in five consecutive NBA Finals, having coached in Cleveland before joining Toronto for the 2018/19 season.
  • Talen Horton-Tucker‘s new two-year, minimum-salary deal with the Lakers is fully guaranteed, a source tells Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Atlantic Notes: Harris, Brogdon, Horford, Handy

The Sixers don’t know if free agent Tobias Harris will be on their roster next season, but two of his younger brothers might be, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Tyler Harris, 24, was part of the organization’s free agent workouts on Friday and Saturday and Terry Harris, 22, has a pre-draft session set for tomorrow.

The 24-year-old Tyler is a 6’10” forward who might be in the running for a two-way contract with the Sixers next season, according to Pompey. Terry, 22, is a 6’6″ forward who just completed his senior season at North Carolina A&T. He is projected as a possible late second-round selection and could be on the board when Philadelphia selects at No. 54. Terry had recent workouts with the Suns and Clippers and has sessions upcoming with the Kings, Nets and Mavericks.

Rashad Vaughn, Jamel Artis and Jamil Wilson were other players of interest at the Sixers’ free-agent workouts, Pompey adds.

  • Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon could be an attractive alternative if the Sixers can’t re-sign Harris or Jimmy Butler, Pompey suggests in a separate story. Brogdon will be a restricted free agent, but he could become expendable with Milwaukee facing a free agent crunch of its own. He was a steady contributor this year, posting a 15.6/4.5/3.2 line before his season was cut short by a plantar fascia tear in his right foot. Pompey states that Brogdon could work as a complement to Ben Simmons in the backcourt or he could become the primary ballhandler if the Sixers decide to make Simmons a forward.
  • The Rockets’ willingness to reshape their roster could provide an opportunity for the Celtics, states Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. The best chance for a deal, according to Forsberg, is if Kyrie Irving leaves Boston and the Celtics decide to commit to a youth movement. If Al Horford decides to opt into a $30.1MM salary, the organization may look to send him elsewhere, or there’s a chance both sides work out a sign-and-trade deal. In either scenario, Houston is an intriguing location because Horford met with the Rockets when he was a free agent in 2016. “It was a privilege,” Horford said at the time. “(Hakeem Olajuwon) and Clyde (Drexler) were there, and my dad went to high school here in Houston, and he was pushing Houston hard. Hakeem, to him, was a big deal.”
  • Sam Amick of The Athletic talks to Raptors assistant coach Phil Handy, who is facing the Warriors in the NBA Finals for the fifth straight year.

Raptors Assistant: Kawhi Leonard Is ‘Doing Great’

Raptors assistant coach Phil Handy provided an encouraging health update on Kawhi Leonard during a recent appearance on Toronto Talk Sports (hat tip to Mitch Robson of The Score).

Handy expressed confidence that Leonard has mostly overcome the issues with his quad that limited him to nine games with the Spurs last season.

“He’s doing great,” Handy said. “He’s in great shape. Body looks good, he’s feeling good, he’s moving well. I don’t anticipate any issues or any problems. He’s working hard and he’s a hard worker.”

The Raptors acquired Leonard from San Antonio in July and added Handy to their coaching staff shortly afterward. He served as an assistant with the Cavaliers for the past three years and was in charge of player development for the last two.

Handy also discussed Leonard’s recent workout with LeBron James and Kevin Durant and said Leonard is fully focused on the season ahead.

“He’s a gamer man,” Handy said. “He is a gamer. Players like that just want to compete. … However [his situation with the Spurs] played out, however it happened, he’s just looking forward to what’s next and what’s in front of him right now and [putting] his best foot forward for the Raptors organization this season.”

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Loyd, Nader, Knicks’ Plans

Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving fully expects to be ready for the start of training camp, Jeff Goodman of ESPN tweets. Irving told Goodman he hadn’t yet participated in a 5-on-5 full contact scrimmage but he has been working out with his trainer. He underwent a surgical procedure on his left knee in early April in which he had two screws removed. At that time, the team provided a projected recovery time of four to five months.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Combo guard Jordan Loyd is finalizing a buyout agreement with Turkish club Darussafaka, which will allow him to sign a two-way contract with the Raptors, Sportando reports. Loyd, who played with the Raptors’ summer-league squad, spent last season in Israel after playing the previous season in the G League. The 6’4” Loyd made a strong impression on Toronto’s brass while mostly playing the point in Las Vegas, leading to the contract offer.
  • The Celtics will pay the Thunder $450K before December 2nd as part of the Abdel Nader trade, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. The Celtics, who will get a trade exception at the same amount, will essentially be paying the guaranteed portion of Nader’s contract, Pincus notes. The swingman, who was on the verge of being waived, was dealt to OKC for guard Rodney Purvis.
  • The current Knicks’ front office is not fully committed to signing two top-level free agents next summer and that could be a good thing, as Sean Deveney of the Sporting News explains. The Knicks would have to clear a lot of cap space to get into that position and would likely have to give up a lottery pick to move a bad contract, Deveney continues. With a young core that includes Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina, dumping a high pick to improve their free-agent market prospects sounds unwise, Deveney adds.
  • The Raptors have officially added Adrian Griffin, Sergio Scariolo, Nate Bjorkgren and Phil Handy to Nick Nurse’s coaching staff, the team’s media relations department tweets.

Cavs Rumors: LeBron, Love, Trade Talks, Coaches

While LeBron James will have until June 29 to exercise or decline his 2018/19 player option, his final decision on his next team won’t happen quickly and figures to stretch into July, Adrian Wojnarowski said on Monday during a draft special on ESPN (Twitter link via Sagar Trika). If that’s the case, James seems more likely to opt out than to opt in next week, which would have an impact on which suitors are viable destinations, as I explained here.

Meanwhile, Wojnarowski also reports that the Cavaliers would like to package Kevin Love and the No. 8 pick for a star player on draft night, but that combo may not net the kind of star they’re seeking (Twitter link via Trika). As Wojnarowski observes, Love’s value isn’t at its peak and the Brooklyn first-rounder isn’t quite as strong as Cleveland had hoped, limiting the appeal of that package to some extent.

Let’s round up a few more Cavs notes and rumors…

  • The Cavaliers have talked to the Grizzlies on more than one occasion, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoop.net, who cautions that he doesn’t know the specifics of those discussions. Memphis is reportedly open to the idea of attaching Chandler Parsons‘ contract to the No. 4 pick in a trade, so it’s possible Cleveland has checked in on that possibility.
  • Echoing a Monday report, Amico confirms that the Cavaliers are expressing interest in Hornets point guard Kemba Walker and have kicked the tires on disgruntled Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.
  • Although Amico expects the Cavs to hang onto the No. 8 pick, a lot of teams are interested in trading up to that spot, including the Nets.
  • The Cavs have had discussions about potentially acquiring another late first-round pick “to help open up the possibilities,” a league source tells Amico.
  • The Cavs are parting ways with assistant coach Jim Boylan and player development coach Phil Handy, multiple league sources tell Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. By not renewing the contracts for Boylan and Handy, the Cavs are clearing the path to give Dan Geriot and Damon Jones larger roles on their coaching staff, per ESPN’s report. No longer employed in Cleveland, Handy may be a candidate to join Nick Nurse‘s Raptors staff, tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.

Coaching Notes: Lue, Jones, Walton, Kings

A delay in working out an extension with Tyronn Lue has several Cavaliers assistants working in the summer league without contracts, according to Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com. The deals for Jim Boylan, Phil Handy, James Posey and Vitaly Potapenko expired July 1st. Lue, who has promised they will all be kept on his staff, is negotiating an extension after winning an NBA title in his first season as a head coach. He is still under a four-year, $6.5MM contract that he had as an assistant after refusing a three-year, $9.5MM offer when he replaced David Blatt in midseason. Lue has a year left on his current deal and said he isn’t worried about the status of the extension. “It’ll eventually get done,” he said.

There’s more coaching news around the league:

  • The Cavaliers are expected to make Damon Jones an assistant coach, Haynes writes in the same piece. Jones will replace Bret Brielmaier, who recently joined the Nets‘ staff.
  • After a two-month wait while the Warriors made their way through the playoffs, former Golden State assistant Luke Walton finally got to coach the Lakers, writes Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. Walton made his debut Friday night in the Las Vegas Summer League and received a rousing ovation from Lakers fans in attendance. “I know I still have a lot to learn, but I think everybody does, no matter how long you’ve been doing any job,” Walton said. “I’m excited and I feel like I’m ready for this and I’m looking forward to it.”
  • The Lakers did not keep player development coach Thomas Scott, tweets Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. Scott is expected to pursue other opportunities.
  • The Kings have added Bob Thornton and Larry Lewis as assistants to new head coach Dave Joerger, tweets Sean Cunningham of KXTV in Sacramento.