Lakers Rumors: Phil Handy Most Commonly Mentioned as Possible Darvin Ham Replacement

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Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty ImagesAs rumors of Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham being on the hot seat continue to swirl, assistant coach Phil Handy is being mentioned as one possible replacement, per The Athletic’s Sam Amick.

According to Amick, people close to the situation have most often mentioned Handy’s name as a potential candidate for head coach if Ham is fired.

“The other factor here, as is always the case in situations like these, relates to a possible replacement. It was no surprise ‘Doc Rivers’ was trending on social media channels in the hours after the Lakers story dropped, as the former Magic/Celtics/Clippers/Sixers coach and current ESPN analyst is currently available,” Amick wrote. “When you talk to people closer to the situation, it’s Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy who is more often brought up as a possible pick. But again, we’re not there quite yet.”

Handy, who has coached for the Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors in assistant roles since 2011, has been with Los Angeles since 2019.

He certainly knows what it means to coach a winning basketball team—he has been a part of several Finals teams—so he could be a qualified candidate for a team looking to reach the Finals for the first time since 2020.

Aside from winning the NBA In-Season Tournament, the first half of the season has been a struggle for the Lakers. They currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference at 17-18, threatening to be a play-in team or miss the playoffs entirely.

Los Angeles still has star power, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, along with several solid role players on the roster, but things haven’t clicked early on. It won’t be a surprise to see the Lakers make a move before the trade deadline, and they could even look to add another star, like Zach LaVine.

The Lakers took a chance on Ham by giving him his first head coaching role in the NBA in 2022, and the first season went well, with Los Angeles reaching the Western Conference Finals.

Now, it seems the Lakers could be in need of a change, and Handy could be the person for the job.


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