Report: Lakers do not want to fire Vogel (at least before season ends)

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The “fire Frank Vogel” contingent of Lakers’ nation has grown more vocal in recent weeks.

With reason — more than just losing 7-of-8 heading into Saturday’s nationally televised game against the Warriors, the Lakers have looked listless, broken, and played without effort in two of the last three games. The loss to the Pelicans was a new low point in the Lakers season, then four nights later the Clippers routed the Lakers in a TNT game — both the kinds of embarrassing losses that might well have gotten Vogel fired earlier this season.

With 20 games to go in the season, the Lakers would prefer not to make a coaching change now, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Woj’s second point is the key one:

What would firing the coach now really change? What is the point?

Vogel is not blameless for this Lakers’ season. He has constantly changed players’ roles this season — injuries forced some of that experimentation with Anthony Davis missing almost half the season, and Kendrick Nunn never setting foot on the court — but some of it was on Vogel. His rotations could be head-scratching at points. The result is a Lakers team without an identity 62-games into the season. 

However, the Lakers’ struggles this season are built on a foundation of poor roster building by the front office (injuries exacerbated those problems). LeBron James gets some blame here as well, he pushed for the Russel Westbrook trade, which has imploded worse than anyone expected. But the Lakers shifted the roster away from defense and shooters around LeBron and Anthony Davis to go for the third star.

At this point in the season, if the Lakers fire Vogel, he almost certainly will be replaced by lead assistant David Fizdale. That might shake the team up, but it’s not going to get Anthony Davis healthy or suddenly add shooting to the roster. The Lakers are what they are at this point. No coach is changing that.

That’s not to say Vogel is safe. Another couple of embarrassing losses where the Lakers show no effort or energy and he could be let go this season. Even if he makes it through the regular and postseason, nobody around the league expects Vogel to be back as coach next season. Vogel being fired will be one step in a major Lakers shakeup in the offseason.

But change likely isn’t coming for 20 games.