Report: Lakers had surprising interim coaching candidate in mind to potentially seize Frank Vogel’s spot

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly were considering elevating Phil Handy to be the team’s interim head coach if Frank Vogel had been fired.

NBA insider Chris Haynes explained during a podcast that the Lakers would’ve chosen Handy over David Fizdale had Vogel been let go. Now, it appears that Vogel will remain the team’s head coach for the rest of the 2021-22 season.

“The Lakers are moving forward and going to allow him to finish out the season as head coach,” Haynes said of Vogel. “It was dicey there these last couple of weeks. Definitely the Lakers were considering making a move.

“I was told — sources told me at that time, if there was going to be an interim coach to take over, I think a lot of people probably would assume it was going to be David Fizdale, but I had a lot of people telling me that it would have been Phil Handy to take over as interim head coach.”

Handy has a solid amount of experience under his belt working in the NBA. He has spent time with a few different organizations over the past decade or so.

While Fizdale took over for Vogel while the L.A. head coach was in the NBA’s health and safety protocols earlier this season, the team apparently felt like Handy would have been the best choice to lead the team if Vogel had been let go.

Vogel’s job appears to be safe for the moment, but the Lakers are still struggling this season. Los Angeles is just 24-25 in the 2021-22 campaign and currently holds the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference.

The Lakers are certainly hoping that the return of superstar Anthony Davis will help the team go on a run over the remainder of the season.

If Vogel is let go at the end of the 2021-22 season, it will be interesting to see if the team still considers Handy to be a viable option to replace him.

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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.