Championship Coach Sounds off on Lakers’ Interest in Him to Replace Frank Vogel

Lakers ex-coach Frank Vogel

Getty Former Lakers coach Frank Vogel

The Los Angeles Lakers need a new head coach after firing Frank Vogel on April 11. Vogel went 127-98 in the regular season with the Lakers and led the franchise to its 17th championship during the 2019-20 season.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers’ search for Vogel’s replacement is expected to be “expansive and lengthy.” They have already requested permission to interview Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham, who served as an assistant with the Lakers from 2011 to 2013.

After Los Angeles fired Vogel, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the franchise is targeting Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, who won the 2019 championship over the Golden State Warriors.

“Nurse, who signed a multiyear contract extension in 2020, led the Raptors to the NBA championship in 2018-19, his first season at the helm,” Charania wrote. “He was voted the NBA’s Coach of the Year the following season after setting a franchise record with a .736 winning percentage. This season, Toronto finished with a 48-34 record, good for fifth in the Eastern Conference and a playoff berth.

“It’s unclear whether Nurse, 54, will be attainable or have an interest in the job, but the Lakers are hoping he is an option with the allure of coaching LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the Los Angeles market.”

It makes sense why the Lakers would have interest in Nurse since he’s one of the best coaches in the league. However, it doesn’t sound like Nurse is interested in leaving Toronto for Los Angeles.

The Raptors lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2022 playoffs in six games. Meanwhile, the Lakers missed the postseason altogether despite having LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.

Lakers Were a Mess in 2021-22; Nurse to LA Unlikely

The Lakers were a walking disaster all season. They missed the playoffs after having the second-best preseason odds to win the title and the team was booed at home games multiple times for displaying brutal basketball on both ends of the floor.

Nurse is represented by Klutch Sports, the same agency James and Davis are with. However, according to Marc Stein of Substack, the championship coach likely won’t leave the Raptors for the Lakers.

“But practically, there’s zero indication that Nick wants to leave Toronto,” Stein said on his podcast. “Secondly, even if he did, he’s very early in a new contract. I think he has three years after this one, maybe two, but at least two after this one. … And the Lakers are not exactly flush with draft compensation to get Nick Nurse out of it. So it’s the kind of thing where people around the league have been buzzing about it. I heard it last week. I didn’t report it because of all the practical obstacles that are in the way of it. I just don’t see how the Lakers could get Nick Nurse from the Raptors even if he was angling to get out and I want to make it clear I have not heard anything to that effect.”

If the Lakers can’t get Nurse, they will try to hire Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, who turned down an extension offer from the Jazz.

Lakers Have ‘Serious’ Interest in Snyder

According to Stein, the Lakers have “serious” interest in hiring Snyder, who was an assistant for the purple and gold during the 2011-12 season.

“The Lakers’ interest in Snyder as a successor to Frank Vogel is serious, sources say,” Stein reported. “There is nonetheless ongoing skepticism in coaching circles that Snyder would want to move from Utah — where he has enjoyed a considerable amount of control and influence — to take over the LeBron James-led Lakers in their current state after the never-ending chaos that engulfed Vogel’s last two seasons. Vogel, remember, wasn’t allowed to choose any of his primary assistant coaches and had to take constant input from Lakers front office adviser Kurt Rambis.”

James becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2023, so the Lakers have to nail this coaching hire. If they don’t, LBJ could leave Los Angeles if the franchise doesn’t have a better season next year.

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