Before Danny Green and assistant coach Phil Handy came to the Los Angeles Lakers last summer, the two were together on the Toronto Raptors.
They were part of the franchise’s first-ever championship and a 2018-19 team that was a silent juggernaut. Led by Kawhi Leonard, many did not realize just how incredible the Raptors were until they had already won the title.
Immediately after winning, however, Leonard, Green and Handy left for Southern California. Leonard did so to sign with the L.A. Clippers, while Green and Handy of course joined the Lakers.
Usually, when a player or coach leaves a team directly after a championship, they receive their rings in a ceremony that takes place whenever that person’s new team comes to the winning city. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the Walt Disney World bubble, the Lakers were unable to make the trip to Toronto that they would have had the season continued normally.
The Raptors offered to do a small ring ceremony within the bubble prior to the two teams’ matchup on Saturday night, but both Green and Handy declined.
Green spoke about the decision to decline, explaining that he would rather wait until he can have the ceremony in front of the fans, via the “Inside the Green Room” podcast:
“Not too excited about that (potentially receiving championship ring in the bubble). I’d rather do it in front of the fans and city where I spent a great year. They reached out to me and asked, which is amazing. Their front office has always been top notch, always made sure they checked in and asked us what’s going on, our opinion to get some feedback. My hat’s off to Bobby, Masai and everybody in the front office. I saw them and got a chance to talk with them a little bit.
“They asked my preference, and I told them me and Phil (Handy) prefer to just do it in the city when we’re able to play in arenas again. They wanted to do a small one here and then another one there, but I said it was not necessary. I’m in no rush to get my ring. … Hopefully we have normalcy soon, with arenas open for next season and we go back to traveling to Toronto and have a ceremony. … It’s not even about me and Phil.
“I think it’s more for the city of Toronto, and being able to celebrate that with them again. Any chance a city can relive those moments with certain people, certain players, certain events, you want to give them that opportunity to share it with you. And obviously my family and friends that want to see that game and be there for that. They’re not able to do that in this bubble. They’re not able to come here and celebrate, or acknowledge or embrace that. So hopefully when things are back to normal we can allow all those people outside of ourselves to enjoy that.”
This is a completely understandable decision from Green and Handy. For them, the championship ring signifies the work they did in the city of Toronto and for the fans in that city. Receiving the ring in the bubble would have taken the fans out of the equation.
Perhaps next season, if fans are allowed by that time, the two will be able to get their ring when the Lakers do eventually go to Toronto.
Green likens 2019-20 Lakers to 2018-19 Raptors
When first arriving in L.A., Green quickly noticed the potential this year’s Lakers team could have, and felt that it was very similar to the championship team he just came from.
“I think that you obviously need time to build chemistry, but I think with [the Raptors], we did it within one year,” Green said during Lakers Media Day.
“New guys coming on, I don’t think you need that much time, you could do it within a couple of months. Especially after the trade deadline, we got Marc Gasol and a bunch of other guys, Jeremy Lin, to come on board and we didn’t have a lot of time.”
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