Frank Vogel has had one of the craziest years of his career. After becoming a championship coach in 2020, he’s seen injuries and roster turnover at an alarming rate. That’s led to the team making a first round exit immediately following their title run, with a current ongoing fight to stay play-in eligible this season. Vogel’s future remains up in the air because of that.
This season is a part of a weirdly reported “extension” that he received. He was basically given this one year with the possibility of the team moving on next season. Vogel’s name has been swirling in rumors since the team start the season in an underwhelming fashion. Had it not been for some stroke of luck, he would’ve been in the market for a new job following a 47-point loss against the Denver Nuggets in December.
At the end of the tunnel is a little hope. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have not played a lot of basketball together this season. Kendrick Nunn has yet to play regular season minutes for the team, after being one of their big signings this off-season. If the team can have all three healthy and find some sort of energy, it could open new possibilities up for Vogel.
However, if the team doesn’t find a way to make a significant playoff push, well, Vogel will be looking for a new job this summer.
Marc Stein reported in his substack (subscription required for reading) about what the future holds for Vogel:
“As we reported in mid-January, Vogel was already close to being fired after the Lakers’ blowout loss at Denver on Jan. 15. With one season left on his deal, all signs point to him being replaced in the summer unless there is, in fact, a stunning playoff run in their future (as one source put it, advancing to the second round or conference finals — unlikely as that appears — would greatly improve his chances). That final decision, of course, is yet to be made.”
Vogel is literally coaching for his job going into the next few months, it seems. Despite turning the Lakers into one of the more feared defenses in the league in the past couple of seasons, the front office went away from his philosophies and pivoted to a new identity. Beyond the injuries, things have not been able to mesh to reveal their new approach to making another championship run.
The Lakers are in a unique position. The franchise has many questions beyond Vogel to answer. LeBron James will be extension eligible prior to next season. Russell Westbrook is going into the summer with a player option, with it becoming obvious that the team will aggressively try and move him after he inevitably accepts that option.
Much of the roster outside of James and Anthony Davis will likely be gone or dangled in trades this summer — and that includes Westbrook. If Vogel is retained, then it’ll be another season of new players and a possibility that his system may not suit them. For his sake, maybe the team will value his abilities and marry somewhere in the middle. If not, it’s been a short, somewhat successful, but dramatic tenure for Frank Vogel.