It’s starting to sound more and more each day that the Los Angeles Lakers and Tyronn Lue are nearing an announcement for him to be the next head coach. A picture and video of Lue with a Lakers-themed birthday cake surfaced on the internet recently, following the reports of the Lakers’ intentions to hire Lue after Monty Williams was hired by the Phoenix Suns.
A new report has come out today from Chris Haynes/Yahoo! Sports that the Lakers and Lue “are in the process of working on a contract agreement” with the current focus being on “contractual parameters”. It was also further confirmed in the report that Kurt Rambis has had a significant role in the hiring process. Neither of those two items are too surprising given previous reports and, well, the birthday cake. What was new within the report was that Frank Vogel could join Lue’s staff as a lead assistant.
Frank Vogel is most famous for his five season head coaching stint with the Indiana Pacers that lasted from 2011 to 2016 (he started as an assistant with Indiana in 2007 prior to transitioning to the head coaching role). Most recently he was the head coach of the Orlando Magic starting with the 2016-17 season before being fired at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.
The hiring of Vogel as Lue’s lead assistant seems like a move to cover Lue’s lapses as a defensive coach, with the Cleveland Cavaliers always being weak on that end of the court and Vogel’s Pacers teams being defensively strong in his time there. The thought process behind the hiring is backed up by the reports a little more than a week ago that Lue had approached Tom Thibodeau about being an assistant on his potential future staff. He reportedly declined the offer.
Thibodeau has always been thought of as an above-average defensive coach, with Vogel being a fitting alternative for Lue and the Lakers. We’ll see if (or when) these hirings become official, as announcements seem near.