The Los Angeles Lakers finally have a new head coach, Frank Vogel, after both Monty Williams and Ty Lue turned down the job.
Vogel signed a three-year contract with the Lakers. The Lakers went 37-45 last season. The team fired former head coach Luke Walton the day after the season ended.
The Lakers head coaching job was one of the most coveted positions in professional sports, but the current gig has become a bit of a migraine headache with LeBron James’ arrival in Hollywood. Between the team quitting on LeBron, the abrupt departure of Magic Johnson, and Jerry Buss’ children squabbling over who gets to run his empire, the Lakers have become more like a reality TV show than a serious contender to the NBA title.
Frank Vogel is a good coach. He took the Indiana Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals and did the best he could given the circumstances during a rebuilding job with the Orlando Magic. But, how will Vogel handle the circus-like atmosphere of the Lakers?
Who Is Frank Vogel?
Frank Vogel, 45, went 304-291 in eight seasons as a head coach in the NBA. He went 54-110 while the Orlando Magic were rebuilding between 2016-2018.
In six seasons with the Indiana Pacers, Vogel won 250 games with a 58 percent winning record. He guided the Pacers to the Eastern Conference twice in 2013 and 2014.
However, the Pacers lost both times to LeBron James and the Miami Heat. LeBron knocked Vogel’s teams out of the playoffs in three straight years. Vogel now gets to coach his former nemesis.
When Phil Jackson took over as general manager of the New York Knicks, he wanted to hire Frank Vogel. However, Jeff Hornacek got the job instead. Jackson, along with Kurt Rambis, both recommended Vogel for the Lakers job. Jackson was romantically linked with Jeanie Buss. Rambis’ wife Linda is considered one of Jeanie’s closest friends.
Kidd or No Kidd
Vogel agreed to Jason Kidd on his staff. Supposedly, both Monty Williams and Ty Lue wanted to hire their own assistants. The Lakers insisted on Kidd being on the staff of their next coach. Monty Williams said no thanks and accepted the head coaching job with the Phoenix Suns.
Lue won a title in Cleveland with LeBron three seasons ago. The Cavs left Lue go early into this season after a horrendous start. But could you blame him? The team was in shambles after LeBron bolted for the Lakers. Lue seemed like the logical choice to be installed as the next head coach, but they couldn’t come to an agreement on Kidd’s inclusion on his roster of assistant coaches.
The Lakers want Kidd to mentor young point guard Lonzo Ball. Ball played only one season in college with UCLA before the Lakers drafted him as the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. In two seasons with the Lakers, Ball played only 99 games due to injuries, but he still averaged 10 points and 5.4 assists per game.
With Vogel peeking over his shoulder wondering if he’ll be replaced by Jason Kidd, why didn’t the Lakers just hire Kidd instead? Great question, but Kidd’s record as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks was less than impressive. Kidd is a career 183-190 coach.