Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was fired on Monday following the conclusion of the team’s unhappy 33-49 season Sunday with a 146 to 141 overtime victory at the Denver Nuggets.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Frank both on and off the court,” Rob Pelinka, the Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager said in a statement on NBA.com. “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.”
Despite leading the team to its 17th NBA World Championship in 2020, Vogel’s ousting comes as no surprise to America’s sports writers, who were posting the news Sunday evening, starting with ESPN, which predicted that the decision to fire Vogel was “expected to be shared with him as soon as Monday.”
Speaking with reporters following Sunday’s win in Denver, Vogel said, “I haven’t been told shit 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.”
Vogel initially signed a three-year contract in 2019 and received a one-year extension through 2022-23 this past offseason. So far, the Lakers haven’t canned any of Vogel’s coaching staff, league sources tell ESPN.
Before the news was officially announced, Lakers star forward LeBron James said of Vogel’s tenuous situation, “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.”
The Lakers’ disappointing season disqualified them from the play-in tournament and saw the team finish in the league’s bottom 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, ranking 21st in defensive rating after finishing first in 2020-21 and third in 2019-20, ESPN reports. L.A. lost 18 of 24 games following the All-Star break this season.
The Lakers’ record was 127-98 in three seasons with Vogel.
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