Phil Handy

Pacific Notes: Handy, Clippers, Suns, Warriors

Despite some rumors linking him to Brooklyn in recent weeks, Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy suggested this week in a conversation with Jason Dumas of KRON4 News (Twitter link) that he intends to remain with the 2020 NBA champs.

“I am a Los Angeles Laker. What’s next for me is waiting for (Lakers head coach) Frank Vogel to pick up the phone and… give me what my next directives are,” Handy said.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • New Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is apparently strongly considering former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and current Heat assistant Dan Craig as additions for his bench, per Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link). Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets that Atkinson, renowned for his ability to develop young players, could be a fit considering that owner Steve Ballmer is hoping his new coaching staff does just that.
  • Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic assesses the prospects of a 2020/21 Suns squad if the team essentially maintains its 2019/20 roster and rely on internal player growth. Backup center Aron Baynes is the only rotation player entering unrestricted free agency this offseason.
  • As the Warriors look to build at the edges of their roster, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area takes a look at two potential swingman bench fits: sharpshooting Bucks guard Pat Connaughton and hyper-athletic Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr.

Northwest Notes: Thunder, Jazz, Nuggets, Wolves

The Thunder are one of the few teams still searching for a new head coach. Last month, Billy Donovan and Oklahoma City surprisingly parted ways after he reportedly rejected a two-year contract offer from the Thunder.

With Donovan having moved onto Chicago, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman explores the idea of Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy as a potential head-coaching candidate for the Thunder. Mussatto notes that the 49-year-old Handy has a championship pedigree, having gone to the NBA Finals six times. He also looked at Handy’s journey, which includes playing professional basketball and getting his start as a player development coach in 2011.

Along with Handy, Mussatto profiled Spurs assistant Will Hardy as a head coaching option for the Thunder.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune takes a look at who the Jazz might select with the 23rd overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. As Walden writes, Utah vice president Dennis Lindsey said last month that the team will be looking for a player who brings defensive intensity. Isaiah Stewart, Jaden McDaniels, Josh Green, and Tyrell Terry are just some of the prospects who may be options for the Jazz at No. 23.
  • In her latest mailbag, Kendra Andrews of The Athletic discusses what the Nuggets might do in free agency. Andrews was asked frequently about Jerami Grant, who played a pivotal role in Denver’s playoff run, an said that re-signing Grant is a top priority for the Nuggets. He could command a deal in the four-year, $64M range.
  • Chris Kine of The Star Tribune examines the next steps for the Timberwolves with the offseason finally here. As things stand, Minnesota has the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, which could both the team a good player and fill a need. However, president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas suggested it’s not realistic to address a need in the draft. “Needs have to be addressed in free agency and trades,” Rosas said. “With draft guys it’s a development process. You want it to be right away, but the reality is it’s a two, three, four-year process.” Rosas reiterated that Minnesota is establishing its culture. Meanwhile, Kine argues that the Timberwolves do not have time on their side with both Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell looking to win.

Mike D’Antoni A Candidate To Join Steve Nash’s Staff?

Former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni is a candidate to join Steve Nash‘s new coaching staff with the Nets, a source tells Frank Isola of SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter link).

D’Antoni and Nash obviously have an extensive history — Nash played for D’Antoni for four years in Phoenix, earning four consecutive All-Star berths and a pair of MVP awards during that time. The veteran point guard later played for D’Antoni again in Los Angeles with the Lakers.

A source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post that D’Antoni and Nash remain “tight.” Berman also refers to D’Antoni as an “X’s and O’s offensive master,” suggesting he’d be a good match for a first-time head coach like Nash, who admitted last month that he was hired more for his relationships and culture-building skills than his tactical acumen.

D’Antoni has been linked to head coaching openings in Indiana and New Orleans and would presumably favor one of those jobs over an assistant position. However, it’s unclear if he’s a finalist for either the Pacers’ or Pelicans’ vacancy.

If he’s willing to accept an assistant role, D’Antoni makes sense as a target for the Nets, given his connection with Nash and the franchise’s deep pockets. Brooklyn made Jacque Vaughn the NBA’s highest-paid assistant, so presumably the team would be amenable to making an aggressive offer for D’Antoni as well.

Isola also mentions Lakers assistant Phil Handy as a possible candidate for Nash’s staff. Handy has previously been identified in multiple reports as a possible target for the Nets.

Nets Notes: Coaching Staff, Arena Workers, J. Smith

It has been five weeks since the Nets hired Steve Nash as their new head coach, but there haven’t been many updates since then on who will be part of Nash’s coaching staff beyond Jacque Vaughn, who is expected to remain in Brooklyn as the associate head coach.

According to Alex Schiffer of The Athletic, current Nets assistant Adam Harrington is also likely to be retained, given his connection to Kevin Durant — Harrington briefly served as the Thunder’s shooting coach during Durant’s time in Oklahoma City.

A source tells Schiffer that the Nets had some interest in trying to add former Suns coach Igor Kokoskov as an assistant. However, Kokoskov recently agreed to become the head coach of EuroLeague team Fenerbahce and prefers to remain with his new club in Turkey, per Schiffer.

Schiffer also names Jay Triano, Royal Ivey, and Phil Handy as possible candidates for the Nets’ staff, though Ivey has received interest from multiple teams. As for Handy, Schiffer recently heard from a source that the veteran assistant is happy working on Frank Vogel‘s staff with the Lakers, but would be open to other opportunities.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Nets owner Joseph Tsai intends to pay his Barclays Center employees – who lost work due to the coronavirus pandemic – through the rest of the year, Brian Lewis of The New York Post confirms. The decision, originally reported by The Atlantic Yards Report, may cost Tsai in the neighborhood of $10MM.
  • Maryland power forward Jalen Smith is the No. 20 prospect on ESPN’s big board, which could put him in play for the Nets at No. 19 in this year’s draft. As Lewis relays in a separate story for The New York Post, Smith is intrigued by the idea of being selected by Brooklyn and becoming teammates with a superstar he grew up watching. “Just being able to play with KD, that’s a dream come true,” Smith said. “Obviously growing up watching him so much and pretty much just learning from him, being the same size as him, just being able to get so much from him that he’s done in the league and continue to work and just compete against him would be tremendous and a good thing for me and my skills.”
  • In case you missed it, we previewed the Nets’ upcoming offseason in a feature last week.

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.