To put it lightly, it’s been tough sledding for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2021-22 season. They were finally eliminated from playoff contention with the April 5th loss against the Suns. It’s been extremely frustrating for all of the coaches and players, with recent news indicating that it’s been just as frustrating for the team’s front office and ownership as someone has finally been thrown under the bus for the team’s failure of a season. That person is head coach Frank Vogel, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Lakers have relieved him of his duties as head coach.
Frank Vogel has coached his final game for the Lakers, a decision that’s expected to be shared with him as soon as Monday, sources tell ESPN. Lakers’ search expected to be lengthy and expansive with no clear initial frontrunner.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 11, 2022
The firing comes long after initial reports on January 18th of Vogel being on the hot seat as it was said at the time that the team was evaluating his job on a “game-to-game basis” after they were planning to fire him if the team lost badly to the Jazz on January 17th (the Lakers won that game 101-95).
Frank Vogel was hired by the Lakers prior to the 2019-20 championship season. He wasn’t the team’s first choice (he possibly wasn’t even their second or third choice) as he was initially reported to be the lead assistant on the team working under Tyronn Lue who was nearly hired by the team as head coach until contract disputes made the deal fall through.
Prior to this 2021-22 season, Frank Vogel had a 92-49 record with the Lakers in two seasons. The team went 16-5 in the 2020 NBA Playoffs with Vogel at the helm, of course ending with the franchise’s 17th championship as they beat the Miami Heat in six games in the infamous Orlando bubble.
Vogel has been coaching in the NBA since 2001, with this season marking his 11th as a head coach. He will now move on to possibly coaching his 4th team in the NBA after previously coaching the Indiana Pacers (2010-2016) and the Orlando Magic (2016-2018).
This is only the fourth season in LeBron’s 19-year career where he didn’t make the playoffs, with the previous instances being his first two years in the league as well as the 2018-19 season with the Lakers.
It’s almost always the head coach that serves as the scapegoat for a disappointing start to a season, especially a season involving such high-profile superstars with such high expecations. Although blame can definitely be attributed to Vogel for certain lineup choices including DeAndre Jordan playing heavy minutes near the season’s opening, Vogel’s job as a coach has always been difficult this season following questionable offseason choices by Rob Pelinka and the front office as well as the number of injures he’s had to deal with. Recently, Vogel did an exclusive interview with The Athletic where he lamented the “guys that did not have great defensive habits” that were brought on the team.
On a final note, shout out to Frank Vogel for helping the Lakers win a championship. Although he’s always been a little inept in terms of coaching an efficient offense, he showed in his time with the Lakers that he’s one of the best defensive coaches in the NBA with that defense basically being the third star of the championship run.
Good luck to him in his future endeavors.