NBA

Lakers to retain assistant coach Phil Handy, part ways with most of Frank Vogel’s coaching staff, per reports

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The Los Angeles Lakers, in the past, have struggled to grant their head coaches autonomy in building their staffs. Ty Lue notably turned down the job at least in part due to the input the Lakers wanted on the assistants he would hire, but so far, all indications suggest that Darvin Ham has been free to pick his own deputies. On Tuesday, we got the latest indication of that being the case. According to ESPN, assistant coaches David Fizdale, Mike Penberthy and John Lucas III have been informed that they would not be retained.

Interestingly, though, one notable Lakers assistant was not named in Dave McMenamin’s report: developmental expert Phil Handy. Now we know why: According to Chris Haynes, Handy has accepted Ham’s invitation to remain with the Lakers. The longtime assistant said in May that he feels ready to be a head coach, but was ultimately not even given an interview for the Lakers position. Another former Vogel assistant, Quinton Crawford, will also be retained, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

Fizdale and Lucas were recent hires to replace two departing assistants: Jason Kidd, who left the Lakers to become the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, and Lionel Hollins, who did not extend his contract with the Lakers after the 2020-21 season. Penberthy had initially been the Lakers’ shooting coach, but was promoted to the front of the bench last season.

Thus far, the only other known candidate to join Ham’s staff is University of Memphis assistant and former Ham teammate Rasheed Wallace, though a deal is not done to bring him to Los Angeles. Reports have indicated that the Lakers would like to flank Ham with some head-coaching experience, but it is not known who they are eyeing. Reporting thus far suggests that Terry Stotts, a finalist for the job that ultimately went to Ham, is not interested in taking an assistant coaching position.

The Lakers devoted almost two months to finding their head coach. That helped them land on the proper choice, but it also cost Ham time in building his staff. The sooner he assembles his assistants, the better for Los Angeles.



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