The Lakers head coaching search is in full panic mode. This offseason is not even a month old, and it’s seen Magic Johnson step down as president, Luke Walton get fired (and implicated in a sexual assault lawsuit), Monty Williams choose Phoenix over Los Angeles and Tyronn Lue step away from negotiations earlier this week.
It’s at the point where Lakers fans are organizing a protest tomorrow around Staples Center, per Fred Roggin of NBC LA. The heat won’t die down with today’s latest revelation: former Orlando Magic coach Frank Vogel has emerged as a top replacement for Walton.
According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Vogel is set to be interviewed on Thursday, as his colleague Adrian Wojnarowski reported that “Vogel was flying to Los Angeles on Thursday for the interview.”
Here’s the latest on rumors connecting the 45-year old to the job.
Frank Vogel Lakers Head Coach Latest Rumors
Joseph Zucker of Bleacher Report explains why Vogel’s emergence was be an underwhelming conclusion to this search.
The Lakers play in one of the country’s biggest media markets, have LeBron James on the roster and enough salary-cap space to sign a marquee free agent to a max contract. Despite those advantages, Los Angeles is considering a coach who compiled a 54-110 record at his most recent stop.
Vogel spent two years with the Orlando Magic, and they finished 13th and 14th in the Eastern Conference during those seasons. It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in Vogel’s abilities that Orlando was a playoff team this season under Steve Clifford.
According to Harrison Faigen at Silver Screen and Roll, Vogel wasn’t even a head coaching candidate early in the process. Instead, he was considered a top defensive assistant possibility for Lue’s staff, which reportedly fell apart due to micromanagement from the Lakers brain trust led by Kurt Rambis, Jeannie Buss and Rob Pelinka.
In fairness to Vogel, he coached the Indiana Pacers to five playoff berths in six seasons, including back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances in 2013 and 2014. His teams could never get past LeBron James and the Miami Heat, which combined isolation basketball with drive-and-kick tendencies.
Traditionally a defense-first coach, his 2013 and 2014 defenses finished 2nd points allowed in the league in consecutive seasons. He flamed out in Orlando after failing to adapt to the five-out offensive style of the current NBA. His Magic teams finished 25th (8.5 per game) and tied for 16th (10.3 per game) in three-point attempts.
He has a combined 304-291 (.511) record in the regular season and 31-30 (.508) mark in the playoffs throughout his eight years as an NBA head coach. The other potential fallback plans are Lionel Hullins and and Mike Woodson, according to Shams Charania.
Woodson was the last coach to lead the Knicks into the Eastern Conference semifinals (2013), while Hullins was fired in 2016 by the Brooklyn Nets after a 10-27 start.