Ex-Lakers Champ Among Favorites to Fill Suns’ Coaching Vacancy

frank vogel jason kidd

Getty Frank Vogel with Jason Kidd.

The Phoenix Suns surprised everyone when they parted ways with head coach Monty Williams after being eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs. Williams led the Suns to the NBA Finals in 2021, but outside of that, had little playoff success during his stint in Phoenix. Several premier names have hit the head coaching market since the season ended, including former Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse and former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer who have both won championships over the last five seasons.

But amid the Suns’ search for a new head coach, another name has come up. That being Frank Vogel, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to a championship in 2020. Per Mark Lammey of Sports Illustrated, DraftKings Sportsbook has the former Lakers coach at +1200 to be the Suns’ next head coach.

“Along with those three, there are also speculations surrounding Tyronn Lue, Kevin Young, Frank Vogel, Mike D’Antoni, Sam Cassell, Steve Nash among others being candidates,” Lammey writes.

“Although he hasn’t gotten the most attention thus far, our experts find great value in Vogel being the next Suns head coach after Monty Williams was fired.”

Frank Vogel Could Be ‘Happy Medium’ for Suns

Aside from the obvious championship experience Vogel brings to the table, he also has experience managing multiple personalities in an NBA locker room. The Lakers’ 2020 roster featured LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, and Dwight Howard. In addition, he also coached Paul George, Lance Stephenson, and David West during his tenure with the Indiana Pacers.

This Suns team is similar, having the likes of Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton. And the variety of personalities on this Suns roster has proven to be combustible after Williams benched Ayton during Game 7 of the 2022 Western Conference Semifinals. Lammey Believes that Vogel could be a “happy medium” that gives the Suns a little bit of Budenholzer and some of the qualities of Nurse.

“Many analysts believe that Bucks former head coach, Budenholzer, is a likely candidate. The pushback in regard to him is his stubbornness and inability to change with the times. Meanwhile, Nurse is a top candidate due to his creativity. Well, Vogel is more of a happy medium between the two,” Lammey writes.

“While leading the Lakers to a title, he did so with an elite defense, which he also did when leading the Indiana Pacers. The downside to Vogel is his approach to the half-course offense. However, Phoenix presents a team that doesn’t need a head coach for that nearly as much. With Kevin Durant and Devin Booker being led by a future Hall-of-Fame point guard in Chris Paul, they are more than comfortable in that regard.”

Ty Lue, Clippers’ Future ‘One to Monitor’

But even with the impressive crop of head coaches to hit the market amid the Suns’ search to fill their vacancy, the candidate pool could become more impressive as we near the free agency period.

After being eliminated by the Suns this year, the Los Angeles Clippers have only made it past the second round once in the Tyronn Lue era. Per Chris B. Haynes of Bleacher Report, Lue’s representatives met with the Clippers this week to discuss his future in Los Angeles.

“Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue’s representatives met with the team this week to discuss the coach’s future with the organization, regarded as one of the brightest minds roaming the sidelines, the Clippers have been plagued by multiple injuries to key players and have fallen well short of championship expectations during Lue’s tenure,” Haynes writes.

“Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is a huge fan of Lue and the two have a great relationship. They hold routine game-day meetings in Lue’s office. Lue’s situation is one to monitor.”