When Frank Vogel’s coaching staff for the Los Angeles Lakers was announced, many focused on the former head coaches such as Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins. However, one of the most important additions was veteran assistant Phil Handy.
He previously spent four years with LeBron James in Cleveland before going to Toronto for a season and winning his second championship as a key coach. The excellent chemistry within the Lakers wasn’t only between the players as the coaches also worked extremely well together.
With the season now over, fellow assistant coach Jason Kidd has reportedly interviewed for a couple of other head coach openings, and Handy was said to be a target of Steve Nash and the Brooklyn Nets.
But in an interview with Jason Dumas of KRON 4 News, Handy said he plans on remaining with the Lakers and is waiting for instruction from Vogel:
“I am a Los Angeles Laker. What’s next for me is to wait for Frank Vogel to pick up the phone, text me or call me, and give me what my next directives are. I’m just going to sit back and try to enjoy this championship that we earned and decompress a little bit. We work so hard, people think we never take time off. I myself have learned how to decompress and step away from the game, where I can stay mentally and physically sharp. I’m going to enjoy this time with my friends and family. And I’ll be ready for whatever directives Coach Vogel has for me as we prepare for this upcoming season.”
For a first-time head coach, an addition like Handy would have been a major step forward for Nash. But instead the Lakers will keep him for their title defense run.
Both Vogel and Kidd have heaped praise on Handy during the season and he has the utmost respect from the players as well. Whenever the 2021 season begins, the Lakers will greatly benefit from Handy remaining on their bench.
Dudley calls Vogel ‘best coach’ he’s had
Vogel and his coaching staff received little credit as the Lakers were on their way to 2020 NBA championship. LeBron James and Anthony Davis will always get most of the praise, but Vogel continually made great adjustments to help the team in pursuit of their goal, and veteran Jared Dudley wants him to get his respect.
Dudley called Vogel the best coach he’s ever had, saying that he doesn’t believe the Lakers would’ve worked if someone else was in charge. Dudley pointed to Vogel’s outstanding preparation and his lack of ego as reasons to his success with the Lakers.
For someone like Dudley, who has played under the likes of Doc Rivers and Alvin Gentry, this is extremely high praise for a head coach who didn’t get enough of it throughout the season.
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