Report: Phil Handy unlikely to return to Lakers after team upset him during last 2 head-coaching searches

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

According to Anthony Irwin of Lakers Daily, fans of the Los Angeles Lakers shouldn’t count on veteran assistant Phil Handy being part of J.J. Redick’s coaching staff.

“According to sources close to the situation and league sources, the Los Angeles Lakers are unlikely to hire James Borrego, Jared Dudley, Terry Stotts or Sam Cassell,” Irwin wrote.

“Phil Handy is also unlikely. The Lakers are more open to bringing him back, but sources say he was not at all happy with not being considered for the head coach position the last two opportunities.”

News surfaced of the Lakers’ decision to hire Redick to be the 29th head coach in franchise history earlier this month.

Irwin connected Jacque Vaughn and Dwane Casey to Los Angeles as some of the possible candidates to join Redick’s staff.

“Sources say the Lakers have moved on to candidates lower on their initial list like Jacque Vaughn and Dwane Casey, while still keeping Scott Brooks in mind as they look to surround new head coach J.J. Redick with as much experience as they can find,” he wrote.

The Lakers fired Handy along with Darvin Ham shortly after the team’s stint in the 2024 NBA Playoffs came to a close. Handy wasn’t singled out when the Lakers parted ways with him — rather, the entire coaching staff was let go.

Handy spent the last five seasons serving as an assistant coach with the storied franchise, starting in the 2019-20 campaign.

During that season — when he was a member of Frank Vogel’s staff — Los Angeles won the 2020 NBA title, which marked the 17th championship in team history.

But the Lakers weren’t able to replicate their level of success in the 2019-20 campaign during Handy’s next four seasons with the squad. Los Angeles didn’t win more than 47 games in any regular season during that span and also earned just two combined playoff series victories.

Earlier in his career, Handy served as a player development coach for the Lakers before his coaching journey took him to the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. There, he helped the franchise win the 2016 NBA Finals for its first-ever championship.

After his stint with the Cavaliers, he then worked with the Toronto Raptors as an assistant coach for just one season and saw the team win the 2019 title — its first championship in franchise history — after defeating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

It will be exciting to see where Handy’s next stop in his NBA coaching career will be, but given Irwin’s reporting, it’s seemingly not likely that he will be a coach for the Lakers again in the 2024-25 season.

Share This Article
Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.