Toronto Raptors

Phil Handy on leaving Toronto Raptors for Los Angeles Lakers: 'Honestly the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my professional career'

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Phil Handy (NBA Getty Images)

On Monday, Phil Handy confirmed in an Instagram post that he is leaving the Toronto Raptors to be an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Handy, who spent the 2018-19 season as an assistant coach on Nick Nurse's staff, wrote a lengthy message detailing how difficult of a decision it was to leave the Raptors. He said that the move to the Lakers is "about professional growth and an opportunity to further my career" - this will be Handy's first assistant coaching job in the NBA at the front of the bench, per ESPN's Marc J. Spears - and thanked Toronto for "making me one of yours!"

"Honestly the hardest decisions I've had to make in my professional career in the last 48hrs," Handy wrote. "Words cannot express my gratitude to the @raptors organization, the city of #toronto #canada and some of the best fans in the world! It was hard to leave this city and team after the historical season we had. Sometimes professional sports can be unforgiving in things that happen.

"I will never forget the love that you all showed me the moment I became a #raptor."

View this post on Instagram

Honestly the hardest decisions I've had to make in my professional career in the last 48hrs. Words cannot express my gratitude to the @raptors organization, the city of #toronto #canada and some of the best fans in the world! It was hard to leave this city and team after the historical season we had. Sometimes professional sports can be unforgiving in things that happen. I will never forget the love that you all showed me the moment I became a #raptor ... I will never forget bringing #larryobrien back to #the6ix and I will never forget how #canada showed up for that parade! WE ARE #NBACHAMPS FOR LIFE. This next chapter for me is about professional growth and an opportunity to further my career by becoming a bench coach with the @lakers ... never easy to move from a #comfortable place but I always say "be comfortable being uncomfortable"... Thank you TORONTO for making me one of yours! #wethechamps #wethenorth #wemadehistory #thejourneycontinues

A post shared by Phil Handy (@thereal94feetofgame) on

Handy was a player development coach with the Lakers between 2011 and 2013. He then became an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he worked alongside LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

Handy will be reunited with James in Los Angeles. James reportedly deleted a tweet welcoming Handy to the Lakers, saying "YESSIR PH!! My guy #LakeShow."

According to Spears, the LA Clippers were also interested in signing Handy this offseason.

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