Frank Vogel is not a bad coach, but this situation has the potential to be a dumpster fire if things start to go sideways. It’s certainly not going to inspire Lakers fans, and it may not inspire key Lakers’ players, either.
Former Indiana and Orlando head coach Frank Vogel will be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, with former Bucks coach Jason Kidd as his lead assistant, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
This is the situation Tyronn Lue refused to accept, a three-year contract (the same length as LeBron James‘ contract) and having his potential replacement (and a guy with a reputation for liking power struggles) next to him on the bench. Lue was the Lakers first choice but he walked away from this offer.
Frank Vogel did not.
The Lakers wanted some say over who would be an assistant after concerns about Luke Walton’s staff last season. Kidd, while unimpressive as a head coach in terms of schemes, does have a relationship with LeBron James and his respect. Bucks players also respected him for teaching them about what it takes to win, about sacrifice, even if he couldn’t put them in the best positions to use that knowledge. That said, he was scheming for the Bucks job before he got it and while they already had a coach, he brings some baggage to the bus.
Vogel is not going to attract free agents as a coach, but will not drive them away either (elite free agents tend not to put much weight into coaches in making their decisions). How LeBron feels about Vogel will be interesting to watch unfold, this was not his guy.
Vogel is seen as a good defensive coach who isn’t great on the other end of the floor. He spent eight seasons on an NBA bench as an assistant coach, then was thrust into the big chair as the interim coach in Indiana after Larry Bird fired coach Jim O’Brien mid-season. A team that had been 10-games under .500 with O’Brien but went 20-18 the rest of the way with Vogel, making the playoffs. That got Vogel the job full time.
Vogel coached the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals twice, both times losing to LeBron James’ Heat. Vogel struggled to coach a rebuilding team in Orlando, a squad Steve Clifford did much better with this season.