Lakers insider labels Phil Handy as name to watch for Frank Vogel’s staff on Suns

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike believes Phil Handy, Jon Pastorek and Dru Anthrop are all potential names to watch to join Frank Vogel’s staff on the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns reportedly hired Vogel as their head coach on Friday, and those three staffers were all a part of Vogel’s tenure with the Lakers. They were retained by Darvin Ham for the 2022-23 season, but it’s possible they could leave to join Vogel with the Suns.

Vogel spent three seasons as the Lakers’ head coach, compiling a 127-98 record and winning 18 playoff games in the process. He also led the team to the NBA Finals in the 2019-20 season. The Lakers beat the Miami Heat in the Orlando, Fla. bubble that season.

Handy is the biggest name on this list of candidates to leave the Lakers, as he’s been an assistant coach with the franchise for four seasons. He was also an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers during LeBron James’ time with the franchise.

The Lakers let Vogel go following the 2021-22 regular season after the team failed to make the playoffs. Ham was brought in to replace him, and the Lakers made a late surge in the 2022-23 regular season to earn the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.

From there, Los Angeles beat the No. 2-seeded Memphis Grizzlies and No. 6-seeded Golden State Warriors to advance to the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets.

While Los Angeles was swept in the conference finals, the 2022-23 season was still a successful one compared to where the team was the season before.

Handy clearly has an important role on the Lakers’ staff, so losing him would leave a major hole. It will be interesting to see if he follows Vogel or would rather stay and coach James, who he has coached in seven of the last eight NBA seasons.

The Suns are hoping Vogel can lead them back to an NBA Finals after back-to-back second-round playoff exits. Phoenix made the NBA Finals in the 2020-21 season, but it lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.