Frank Vogel’s seat is getting scorching hot but the Los Angeles Lakers will not be letting their head coach go — yet.
Vogel delivered a blunt statement on benching former MVP Russell Westbrook following a loss to the struggling Indiana Pacers and the writing seemed to be on the wall that he had coached his final contest for the Lakers.
“This is definitely a disappointing loss,” Vogel told reporters. “Indy is a team that’s sub-.500, that on our home court, we feel like we should win. And you got to win the games you feel like you should win. So, a disappointing loss.”
Despite the loss, the Lakers are not ready to make a move regarding their head coach, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
“The Los Angeles Lakers will not be making a personnel move at this juncture and Frank Vogel will travel with the team tomorrow to coach in Orlando on Friday,” Haynes tweeted.
The stop in Orlando is the first of a six-game road trip that could dictate how the rest of the season shapes up for the Lakers. If Vogel stays, there’s a chance Westbrook is dealt before the February 10 trade deadline. That is if the Lakers can find a suitor for his massive contract and believe the return can improve the team.
Vogel Not Worried About Job Security
Vogel addressed his job security prior to the Lakers’ matchup with the Pacers, giving a level-headed response to the rampant rumors.
“I don’t feel like I’m under siege,” Vogel told reporters. “It’s not hard to do my job; I’m very focused on the task at hand. I’ve always been that way.”
Vogel led the Lakers to the title in 2020 and hasn’t been dealt the best hand this season. LeBron James started the season banged up, Anthony Davis has missed more games than he’s played in and the integration of Westbrook hasn’t been as easy as the team would have hoped.
“It’s really not up to me whether it’s fair or not,” Vogel said. “It comes with the territory, comes with being the Lakers’ coach. We have high expectations. This fan base really cares. It’s a big market, and I wouldn’t want it any other way, to be honest with you. I want people to care, I want people to want the best and to command excellence out of our group. That’s what we command of ourselves; that’s just the way it is.”
LeBron James Backs Frank Vogel After Loss
LeBron James’ opinion carries quite a bit of weight within the Lakers organization and he supported the coaching staff following the loss.
“Coaching staff has been great,” James said. “They put us in position to succeed, and it’s up to us to handle the business, so there’s always things that we all can do better, but there’s no blame.
“I’m not in that business, of pointing fingers or pointing blame,” James added. “It’s not my lane. I’m not a negative person. So if you got something to ask me besides trying to s— on somebody, I’ll answer those. … It seems like y’all are in s— mode right now.”
Carmelo Anthony also chimed in with a similar sentiment to James.
“Frank’s not out there. It’s up to us to go out there and execute and play basketball and win some games,” Anthony told reporters.
The Lakers are hoping Davis can return to the lineup during their upcoming road trip, which should — hopefully — help spark some momentum.