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Isola: Mike D’Antoni, Phil Handy both candidates for Nets coaching staff

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Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Frank Isola, who is a host of “The Starting Lineup” on SiriusXM, and a YES Network analyst, reports Wednesday that Mike D’Antoni, the former Rocket head coach, and Phil Handy, the Lakers assistant who’s been to six straight NBA Finals, are candidates for assistant coaching jobs in Brooklyn.

Isola didn’t indicate if the Nets are interested in hiring both or just one of the two.

While Handy, who has been part of three NBA championships, has been mentioned as a possibility before, D’Antoni’s candidacy is new. He and Nash, of course, anchored the Suns’ “Seven Seconds of Less” offense in the early 2000’s. He later served head coach of the Knicks (during LinSanity) , the Lakers ( where he coached Nash again), and Rockets. Before joining the Rockets, he had been associate head coach of the 76’ers. D’Antoni resigned the head coaching job in Houston after the Rockets were eliminated in the playoffs. He was also an assistant coach of Team USA at the 2012 London Olympics, working with Kevin Durant.

D’Antoni, 69, is close to Nash and praised the Nets hiring of his former point guard.

“He’s got a great basketball mind. I know he loves basketball. So it doesn’t surprise me. But it’s interesting,” said D’Antoni at the time of Nash’s signing.

D’Antoni has been mentioned in discussions of NBA head coaching jobs in recent weeks. While it might seen odd that a head coach would sign on as an assistant —particularly with Jacque Vaughn already designated as lead assistant, it should be noted that the Lakers had two former (Nets) head coaches on their staff this season: Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins.

Handy has been an NBA assistant coach since 2011, with two stints in L.A. with the Lakers, as well as with the Cavaliers and Raptors. He has been to the Finals six straight years, including three with the Cavaliers when he teamed with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James as well as the Raptors in 2019. He has three NBA rings, with the Cavaliers in 2016, the Raptors in 2019 and the Lakers this season.