Phil Handy Rumors
Heading into this offseason, several NBA sources said the expectation was that most of the head coach openings could be filled by African Americans. According to NBA sources, the list of African American assistant coaches who interviewed for jobs included the Los Angeles Lakers’ Jason Kidd and Phil Handy, the Dallas Mavericks’ Jamahl Mosley, the Denver Nuggets’ Wes Unseld Jr., the Golden State Warriors’ Mike Brown, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Sam Cassell, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Darvin Ham and Charles Lee, the Brooklyn Nets’ Udoka and Jacque Vaughn, the Clippers’ Billups, the New Orleans Pelicans’ Teresa Weatherspoon and the Timberwolves’ David Vanterpool. Sources said Dawn Staley, USA Basketball women’s head coach and University of South Carolina women’s head coach, was another African American considered for NBA openings, but she was focused on the Olympics.
Turning 50 next month, Phil Handy figures to be a part of other memorable runs. While he’s made no indication that he is leaving Los Angeles, he does have ambitions to be a head coach someday. Two people with knowledge of the situation told SCNG that Handy interviewed for the Washington Wizards head coaching job last month. More such interviews are likely in the coming years for a coach who has been on a number of winning staffs.
Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy recently guested on Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s All The Smoke podcast, and the long-time LA coach tried to shed some light as to why Kobe was the way he was: “His realness, man,” Handy responded when asked what he remembers the most about Kobe Bryant. “He was misunderstood. I asked him one time, ‘Why you such an a–hole?’ I asked him that. And he said, ‘You really wanna know? Some of my teammates don’t understand the work. I see dudes walking into practice 10 minutes before practice and they leave right after. Why the f–k am I going to pass them the basketball? I don’t respect their work ethic.
Handy did not end there. He went on to share how Kobe took this lack of passion as an insult: “I’m in here busting my ass everyday trying to perfect my craft and these dudes don’t want to work on their game. I don’t trust them. So I’m not going to pass them the basketball. I’m gonna ride them hard everyday,” Kobe said, per Handy.
The last of the league’s nine coaching vacancies is in Oklahoma City. Will Hardy, an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, Charles Lee from the Milwaukee Bucks’ staff and Mark Daigneault, an assistant coach with the Thunder, are among the candidates who have received strong consideration for the post. Other outlets have mentioned the Thunder assistant coach Brian Keefe and the former Nets assistant Will