After conducting a strained search for a new coach, the Los Angeles Lakers are hiring Frank Vogel.
After being turned down by Monty Williams and apparently botching negotiations with Tyronn Lue, the Los Angeles Lakers have found their next coach. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Frank Vogel has agreed to a three-year deal to replace Luke Walton.
Vogel did not coach this season, even as an assistant. He spent the previous two seasons as head coach of the Orlando Magic, with a 54-110 record.
Prior to that, Vogel had far more success over six seasons with the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers won a division title and reached the Eastern Conference Finals against the LeBron James-led Miami Heat in both 2013 and 2014. But after a 38-44 record in 2014-15 and a first-round playoff exit in 2016, Vogel’s contract in Indiana was not renewed. His .580 regular season winning percentage (250-181) is second in Pacers’ franchise history, behind “Slick” Leonard.
Somehow, the reported prominent voices in the Lakers’ coaching search became Kurt and Linda Rambis over owner Jeanie Buss or general manager Rob Pelinka. Trying to force a new coach to hire certain assistants, including Kurt Rambis himself and/or Jason Kidd according to reports, was one of the factors in the breakdown of talks with Lue.
But it appears Vogel has immediately acquiesced to the organization on at least one assistant coach, and it seems like the second prominent, desired assistant coach will follow.
Having Kidd as a proverbial lead assistant is not necessarily out of left field, though it could become a strained dynamic if the Lakers struggle. But Rambis has no resume as a coach, other than riding Phil Jackson’s coattails as an assistant during the franchise’s last great run. Rambis’ presence on Vogel’s coaching staff, assuming it ultimately happens, will feel a lot like the insertion of an organizational mole.
Williams and Lue turning away from the Lakers should have served as a serious red flag to all other coaching candidates. But Vogel has taken the job, and essentially volunteered to be the first scapegoat if (or when) things go off the rails.