Frank Vogel, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to the 2020 NBA title, has coached his final game for the team, which he will learn about as soon as Monday.
Without a clear front-runner, the Lakers’ hunt for his replacement is expected to be extensive and lengthy.
After being eliminated from play-in playoff contention on Tuesday, the Lakers wrapped up a disappointing 33-49 season on Sunday with a 146-141 overtime victory over the Denver Nuggets.
After Sunday’s game, Vogel, who signed a three-year deal in 2019 and earned a one-year extension this offseason through 2022-23, said that he had not been told anything regarding his future with the organisation.
“I haven’t been told s—-,” he told reporters after the game. “I’m going to enjoy tonight’s game, celebrate what these young players did in terms of scratching and clawing and getting back in this game and getting a W, and we’ll deal with tomorrow, tomorrow.”
Continuity was a persistent issue for Vogel and the Lakers this season, as they dealt with injuries to key players LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as well as a difficult roster structure that included little shooting and quickness.
Los Angeles was the only team in the league that did not field a single five-man lineup for 100 minutes. Despite having high expectations going into the season, the Lakers were only able to get James, Davis, and Russell Westbrook on the court for 21 games. In those games, they went 11-10.
After finishing first in 2020-21 and third in 2019-20, the Lakers completed the season in the bottom ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency, placing 21st in defensive rating.
Only the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, and Indiana Pacers had worse records after the All-Star break than the Lakers, who lost 18 of their next 24 games.
Despite his job status being thrown into question, Lakers guard Malik Monk lauded Vogel’s attitude throughout the season, scoring a career-high 41 points in the win.
“He maintained his composure throughout. We didn’t discuss any issues like that. We didn’t discuss anything like that, guy “Monk remarked. “He came in and worked hard, and he always had a good game plan for us… He was always thinking of us. It was never about him in the first place. And for that, I applaud him, man. I’m sure it was difficult for him, but he never said it. His disposition never changed.”
During the COVID-affected 2019-20 season, Vogel led the Lakers to an NBA title in the Orlando, Florida, bubble, and he kept the team as one of the league’s top defensive teams throughout his first two seasons in Los Angeles. He’s believed to be a possibility for head coaching jobs elsewhere in the league in the future.