The Los Angeles Lakers are parting ways with head coach Frank Vogel.
Per the ESPN report, the Lakers front office, led by general manager Rob Pelinka, was expected to tell Vogel he is not returning on Monday when the team returns to Los Angeles for exit interviews.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Frank both on and off the court,” said Rob Pelinka, the Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager. “Frank is a great coach and a good man. We will forever be grateful to him for his work in guiding us to the 2019-20 NBA championship. This is an incredibly difficult decision to make, but one we feel is necessary at this point. All of us here wish Frank and his wonderful family all the best for the future.”
Vogel is clearly the scapegoat for arguably the most disappointing season in Lakers history.
After acquiring former MVP Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony last summer, the Lakers were the early favorites to win the NBA title. But injuries, lack of cohesion, and an aging roster led to a record of 33-49 and the team finished in 11th place in the Western Conference, missing the playoffs and play-in tournament entirely.
Although reports were that LeBron James and Anthony Davis had more to do with the Lakers 2021-22 roster construction than Vogel did, it is still the head coach who will take the fall after this disastrous season.
If indeed Vogel has coached his final game, he finishes with a record of 127-98 in his three seasons as head coach, winning the NBA Championship with the Lakers in 2020.
James missed 26 games this season, and Davis has missed 78 games over the past two seasons.
Vogel, a defensive-minded coach who had the Lakers finishing third in defensive rating in 2019-20, and first in 2020-21, ranked 21st this season.
Injuries and a consistent roster were a constant challenge for Vogel this season. He had over 40 different starting lineups, and not a single five-man lineup was able to play more than 100 minutes together on the court, the only team in the NBA with that little amount of time together according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The “Big Three” of James, Davis, and Westbrook as it was known, was only able to play 21 games together, finishing 11-10 in those games. The Lakers were still in playoff contention at the All-Star break, but lost 18 of their last 24 games, sinking to the bottom of the standings. Only three other teams in the entirety of the NBA had a worse record after the All-Star break than the Lakers.
Wojanrowski’s tweet came seconds after the Lakers 146-141 come-from-behind victory over the Denver Nuggets in the season finale on Sunday. The Lakers trailed the Nuggets by nine points with a minute remaining, but tied the game with 06.4 remaining thanks to Austin Reaves steal and coast-to-coast layup.
After the game, when asked about the reports that he has coached his last game with the Lakers, Vogel said “I haven’t been told s—, and I’m going to enjoy tonight’s game. And I’ll deal with tomorrow, tomorrow.”
The Lakers search for a new coach will likely be lengthy and exhausting, especially after they passed up opportunities to sign current Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams and Clippers’ head coach Ty Lue back in 2019.
Below are the current odds on who will be the Lakers coach for the 2022-23 season courtesy of Sports Betting AG.