Surprise Coach Was Going to Take Over for Lakers’ Frank Vogel if Fired

frank vogel

Getty Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel.

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to struggle and have fallen to the ninth seed in the Western Conference with a 24-27 record. The team can’t catch a break as LeBron James is now injured after Anthony Davis just returned from injury. For a moment, head coach Frank Vogel was on thin ice and it looked like he was about to lose his job.

The Lakers have now decided to keep the coach for the rest of the season but they were strongly considering making a change. In fact, they even had a replacement in mind, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.

“The Lakers are moving forward and going to allow him to finish out the season as head coach,” Haynes said on his Posted Up podcast. “It was dicey there these last couple of weeks. Definitely, the Lakers were considering making a move. I was told — sources told me at that time, if there was going to be an interim coach to take over, I think a lot of people probably would assume it was going to be David Fizdale, but I had a lot of people telling me that it would have been Phil Handy to take over as interim head coach.”

Phil Handy is a widely respected assistant coach around the NBA and has done great work but has never been a head coach. David Fizdale oversaw the team when Vogel had COVID-19 earlier in the season and has head coaching experience. The team went 1-5 with him in charge so the front office clearly isn’t confident in him.

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Would Handy Be Good as a Head Coach?

Handy has been coaching since 2011 when he joined the Lakers as a development coach. He later went on to be an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers and coached LeBron for several seasons and was on staff for the 2016 championship. He moved on to the Toronto Raptors in 2018 and won another ring in 2019.

Handy came back to Los Angeles in 2019 and has been with them since. He’s respected by the players and appears to be a hard worker. He’s an interesting candidate to become a head coach in the near future. If the Lakers decide to move on from Vogel, rolling the dice on Handy could be smarter than going with a known commodity with Fizdale.

Could Lakers Change Course if Team Keeps Losing?

The plan is for Vogel to finish this season with the Lakers but plans can change. The team is currently on a three-game losing streak and may not even make the playoffs at their current pace. Vogel can make plenty of excuses for the struggles. Whether it’s injuries, poor roster construction or just bad luck, it’s hard to have a fair assessment of the coach this season.

However, the front office members aren’t going to fire themselves so Vogel shouldn’t feel fully safe quite yet. A long losing streak could force the issue for the Lakers. There are only so many games left and Vogel will likely be gone if the team has an early playoff exit regardless.

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