LOS ANGELES — Former Knicks head coach David Fizdale has joined his hometown Los Angeles Lakers as the lead assistant coach on Frank Vogel’s staff.
The Lakers also hired John Lucas III as an assistant coach and named Roger Sancho their head athletic trainer Wednesday.
Fizdale was the Memphis Grizzlies’ head coach for 101 games from May 2016 until November 2017, leading them to the playoffs in his only full season. He took the top job with New York in May 2018, but was fired in December 2019 after New York got off to a 4-18 start.
Before taking over the Grizzlies, Fizdale was an assistant coach for 13 seasons at Miami, Atlanta and Golden State.
Fizdale, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, fills the lead assistant vacancy created on the Lakers’ staff in June when Jason Kidd left to become the Dallas Mavericks’ head coach.
Lucas played eight NBA seasons for six teams. He was a player development coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2017-19.
Lucas will take over some of the responsibilities left behind by Lionel Hollins’ decision to leave the Lakers’ staff when they couldn’t agree on a new contract, and by Miles Simon’s promotion to head coach of the G League’s South Bay Lakers.
Phil Handy, Mike Penberthy and Quinton Crawford return on Vogel’s staff.
The Lakers didn’t renew the contract of head athletic trainer Nina Hsieh in June after the club experienced significant injury problems throughout last season. Their defense of their 2020 championship ended with a first-round loss to the Phoenix Suns.
LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and other Lakers were sidelined or significantly limited by injuries throughout the second half of the season.
Sancho spent the past seven seasons with the Golden State Warriors, including the last five as an assistant athletic trainer.
Sancho will have the potentially daunting job of maintaining the health of a roster with at least 10 players who are 32 years old or older, along with the oft-injured Davis.
The Lakers also promoted Ed Streit to head strength and conditioning coach.
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