Like many NBA coaches, it’s been a whirlwind of a journey for Raptors assistant coach and head of player development Phil Handy, who vacated his post with the Cleveland Cavaliers last offseason and joined Nick Nurse and his staff in Toronto.
So what led Handy to his current position with the Raps after five years with the club that ousted his current one from the playoffs plenty of times in recent years?
A longstanding connection to the team’s current bench boss, of course.
“For one, me and Nick Nurse have a lot of history — I played for him over in Europe a long time ago, and when he became a coach in the league we always kept in touch.”
The two were together nearly 20 years ago in Manchester, England, on a team that plowed through the competition en route to a league championship. Winning together often creates longstanding bonds, but it wasn’t solely the relationship with Nurse that brought Handy to the Raptors.
It’s the chance to win with him once again.
“I think for me when I left Cleveland, the most important thing for me was winning. I had the opportunity to go and coach for other teams that are really young and trying to develop their players and I like to develop players — but I like winning.”
Between his time with the Lakers, Cavs and of course in England with coach Nurse nearly two decades ago, Handy is quite familiar with earning those Ws.
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