Vogel was hired by the Lakers in 2019 and guided the franchise to the 2020 championship over the Miami Heat in the Walt Disney World bubble. However, the purple and gold lost in the first round of the 2021 playoffs to the Phoenix Suns and are in 11th place in the Western Conference standings this season.
“Now, as the finish line for this tumultuous 2021-22 campaign mercifully arrives, the Lakers are still expected to part ways with embattled play-caller Frank Vogel, sources told B/R, and the anticipated vacancy on Los Angeles’ bench has produced no shortage of potential candidates linked to fill the position,” Fischer reported.
Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder and Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers are two names being mentioned by league personnel as potential replacements for Vogel, per Fischer.
Snyder, Rivers Being Linked to Lakers
Snyder was a Lakers assistant during the 2011-12 season. Meanwhile, Rivers coached the Los Angeles Clippers for seven seasons, so he has ties to Los Angeles.
“As Marc Stein first reported, Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder is perhaps most often mentioned by league figures as a possible Vogel replacement,” Fischer wrote. “For now, Snyder remains entrenched in Utah and told Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune: ‘My focus is on our guys and our team. And as I said, addressing hypotheticals in these types of questions in any form I feel like is disrespectful.’ Yet that hasn’t dispelled the rumblings that Snyder, a Lakers assistant from 2011-12, may be inclined to step away from the Jazz following this season, especially as Utah has taken its own tumble down the Western Conference standings.
“Doc Rivers, the Philadelphia 76ers’ head coach, is another active bench leader being mentioned by league personnel as a potential Lakers candidate. Rivers’ tenure in Philadelphia has also come into question of late, spurred by team president Daryl Morey’s deadline acquisition of James Harden and the mounting speculation that followed about a potential reunification with Harden’s former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni.”
Whoever the Lakers hire as their new coach will get to work with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, two of the best players in the NBA. According to Fischer, Los Angeles is expected to focus on candidates with previous experience.
It’s not entirely Vogel’s fault that the Lakers have been a walking disaster this season. After all, he’s not playing. He can only do so much from the bench. It’s up to the players to play defense and make shots on offense.
However, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith believes Vogel has lost his team.
Smith: Lakers Have to Fire Vogel
On March 15, Smith said on ESPN’s First Take that the Lakers would be wise to fire Vogel and get a new voice in the locker room.
“It’s time for Frank Vogel to go,” Smith said. “He has to go as head coach of this franchise. It’s time to put him out of his misery. It’s time to put LeBron James out of his misery. It’s not that they’re losing. If you’re scratching and clawing — it’s nip and tuck — but were able to point to injuries, that would be different. That’s not what’s going on here with the Los Angeles Lakers. We’re seeing a level of inefficiency, a level of ineptitude, a lack of spirit. It’s like these guys don’t know what it means to be Lakers. It’s Frank Vogel’s responsibility to overcome that.
“It’s not his fault, ladies and gentlemen, as it pertains to this roster and the position that they put him in. I’m not saying that Frank Vogel doesn’t deserve to be a head coach in the National Basketball Association, but I’ve seen coaches facing arduous circumstances with a roster that performed much better than he’s done as a coach. LeBron James is your star. You can lose games. You don’t have to be 10 games under .500. You don’t have to give up 48 points in a first quarter and then follow that up by getting outscored 26-4 to start a game. There’s no spirit, there’s no enthusiasm, there is nothing. The Lakers are a shell of themselves. At this particular moment in time, it’s embarrassing to watch this team.”
It will be fascinating to see who the Lakers hire this offseason.