Following a disappointing 10th place finish with a 37-45 record, the Lakers fired head coach Luke Walton. Rumors from earlier in the weak indicated that Ty Lue would become Walton’s replacement, however disagreements during negotiations closed the door on that signing. Lue wanted a standard five year contract, however the Lakers would only give him three years. Uncoincidentally, this is the same number of years which LeBron James has left on his contract, which insulted Lue. Additionally, the Laker’s management wanted to bring Jason Kidd on board as an assistant coach which Lue disliked. While Lue turned down those terms, Frank Vogel gladly accepted them, signing a three year contract with the team.
Vogel’s Track Record
Vogel previously worked as an assistant coach for the Celtics, 76ers and Pacers before becoming the Pacers’ interim head coach during the 2010-11 season. In his first full season as head coach he led the Pacers to a 42-24 record during the lockout-shortened season. The Pacers made it to the second round before losing to the eventual champion Miami Heat in six games. Indiana made it to the Conference Finals the next two years, however they would lose in seven and six games respectively to the Miami Heat. Despite being let go by the Pacers following the 2015-16 season, Vogel had just one losing season during his tenure. Considering his four playoff appearances and two conference finals appearances, his time with the Pacers was decidedly successful.
Vogel’s time with the Magic was far less successful however. He led the team to two losing seasons and was fired after the 2017-18 season. In his first season, Orlando went 29-53, and they regressed to 25-57 the following year. Granted, those Magic teams were exceptionally young and inexperienced. Additionally, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic did make positive strides between Vogel’s first and second season.
Given how dry the coaching market is right now, the Lakers’ options were effectively Lue, Kidd or Vogel. Since Lue didn’t want to sign, and Kidd’s track record as a head coach was rather poor, Vogel was the best choice available. It may have behooved them to wait a bit however, as it’s possible that Brett Brown may be on the market soon. Rumors indicate that the 76ers might fire Brown if he delivers anything less than an NBA Finals appearance. Brown would easily be the best coach available in that case, however it remains to be seen how the 76ers finish out the postseason. If the 76ers retain Brown, then the Lakers made a great decision by signing Vogel quickly and ensuring a solid head coach for next season.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference
Featured image courtesy of Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press
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