The Los Angeles Lakers have fired head coach Frank Vogel after the franchise missed out on the NBA playoffs this season.
Despite a victory over the Denver Nuggets in his final game on Sunday, Vogel was unable to steer the squad into the postseason after the Lakers suffered eight consecutive defeats from March 24 to April 8.
Rob Pelinka, the team’s vice president of basketball operations and General Manager, announced the decision via a news release.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Frank both on and off the court. Frank is a great coach and a good man. We will forever be grateful to him for his work in guiding us to the 2019-20 NBA championship.
“This is an incredibly difficult decision to make, but one we feel is necessary at this point. All of us here wish Frank and his wonderful family all the best for the future,” Pelinka stated.
When Lakers star forward LeBron James was asked about Vogel’s situation ahead of the team statement release, James said, “I respect Frank as a coach, as a man. Our partnership that we have had over a few years here has been nothing but just candid with great conversations. This guy gives everything to the game and prepared us every single night along with his coaching staff as well. … I got nothing but respect for him.”
In Vogel’s first season at the helm, he led the Lakers to a 52-19 record and the franchise’s 17th NBA title, tying the Boston Celtics for most championships in league history, during the Covid-19 pandemic-shortened 2019-2020 during the Covid-19 bubble season in Orlando, Florida.
Last season, Los Angeles lost to the eventual Western Conference champion, Phoenix Suns, in the first round of the playoffs.
Vogel compiled an 127-98 regular season and 18-9 postseason record with the Lakers.
Overall, the 48-year-old has a 431-389 regular season record, 48-39 in postseason in 11 seasons with the Lakers, Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers.
Vogel had signed a contract extension last year to keep him at the Lakers until 2023, but the team struggled this season, due in part to injuries.
Star players LeBron James and Anthony Davis both spent time on the sidelines as a lack of consistency proved ultimately fatal for Vogel’s reign.
Vogel seemed unsure about his future with the team when asked about his job on Sunday.
“I haven’t been told sh*t and I’m going to enjoy tonight’s game, celebrate what these young guys did in terms of scratching and clawing and getting back in this game and getting a W, and we’ll deal with tomorrow tomorrow,” he told reporters.
The Lakers concluded their disaster of a season with a record of 33-49, finishing 11th in the West.