Phil Handy expected to join Mike Brown’s coaching staff in Cleveland

Lakers player development coach Phil Handy is expected to join Mike Brown’s coaching staff with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to league sources.

Handy hasn’t signed a contract yet, but he reached what a league source called a “verbal agreement” to become one of Brown’s assistants.

Brown hired Handy as his player development coach last year his first season as the Lakers’ head coach. Since then, Handy has developed a strong reputation among the Lakers’ players for both his engaging on-court workouts and infinite willingness to work with them at all hours of the day. Handy will oversee player development with the Cavaliers, but will also have more added responsibility than he did with the Lakers.

When the Lakers fired Brown last season following a 1-4 start, Mike D’Antoni still kept the coaching staff intact and added his brother, Dan, to the staff. That included Handy, whose duties entail working players out before games and after practices through various individual shooting and ball handling drills. Handy also worked closely with players in individual workouts as they progressed from various injuries.

The Lakers’ coaching staff has remained in flux in recent weeks. Eddie Jordan took the Rutgers’ head-coaching job just before the NBA playoffs began. D’Antoni informed both Chuck Person and Bernie Bickerstaff two weeks ago that they won’t return for the 2013-14 season. Steve Clifford has also interviewed with the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Bobcats for their head-coaching vacant spots.

It’s not entirely definitive whether Brown will hire Bickerstaff to fill out his coaching staff, according to a league source. Bickerstaff has been considered one of Brown’s most influential mentors. As the Nuggets’ GM, Bickerstaff hired Brown as an intern in 1992 for $1,500. Brown parlayed that into a video coordinating job and scouting position for five seasons. He then joined Bickerstaff as one of his assistant coaches with the Washington Wizards.

But Bickerstaff’s son, J.B, has been looking for a head-coaching job after serving as an assistant with the Houston Rockets for the past two seasons. According to one league source, J.B. interviewed with the Bucks less than two weeks ago.


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