Woj: Frank Vogel to Be Fired by Lakers as Soon as Monday After 33-49 Season

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIApril 11, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel questions a referee in an NBA basketball game with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021, in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves won 110-92. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn

The Los Angeles Lakers will soon be searching for a new head coach.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Vogel "has coached his final game for the Lakers, a decision that's expected to be shared with him as soon as Monday." 

L.A. finished a disastrous 2021-22 campaign with a 33-49 record and failed to qualify for the postseason or play-in tournament despite preseason championship hopes.

The Lakers overhauled their roster before this season by adding nine-time All-Star Russell Westbrook in a blockbuster trade with the Washington Wizards and surrounding the Anthony Davis-LeBron James-Westbrook trio with a slew of veterans on one-year deals.

The experiment did not work.

Injuries piled up, and James (56) and Davis (40) played a combined 96 games. Whichever Lakers found themselves on the court on any given day struggled to mesh as losses mounted.

The team had more starting lineups than wins, a fact Davis lamented after the Lakers were eliminated from playoff contention.

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Westbrook, a 14-year NBA veteran arguably endured the worst season of his career. His 15.0 player efficiency rating served as his worst-ever mark, per Basketball Reference.

The team's offense was particularly problematic, with the Lakers sporting the NBA's No. 23 efficiency in that department entering Monday's games, per Basketball Reference. The defense, which was No. 1 in efficiency last year, dropped all the way to 21st.

There were many points that could classify as the nadir of this season, but a case could be made that L.A.'s was during a three-game losing streak in January that saw the team drop to 21-22. Not only did the Lakers lose by an average of 18.0 points per game, but they allowed 128.3 PPG and fell 133-96 to the Denver Nuggets to the stretch.

On Jan. 18, Bill Oram and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported that not only was Vogel's job in "serious jeopardy," but that team brass was evaluating his performance game-by-game. A report later that day from Dan Woike and Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times stated that there were "no current plans" to replace Vogel.

Plans clearly changed, though, and Vogel's fate was sealed as L.A. stumbled through the second half of the season.

Ultimately, the writing was on the wall for Vogel, but the Lakers has a lot of soul-searching to do outside their coaching situation after the team failed to even land in the top 10 of the Western Conference.

It's a remarkable fall from championship glory for the Lakers. Vogel's first season with L.A. resulted in a 52-19 regular-season record and the franchise's first NBA championship in 10 years.

The second season was not as successful.

Injuries led to James and Davis missing a combined 63 games. As a result, the Lakers took a tumble in the standings, going 42-30 and finishing seventh in the Western Conference.

They made the playoffs after defeating the Golden State Warriors in the play-in tournament, but the eventual Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns took them down in six first-round games.

Still, hope sprung eternal with the team's offseason moves. Ultimately, they did not work out, and now the Lakers are looking for a new leader.

The 48-year-old Vogel coached the Indiana Pacers from 2010-11 to 2015-16 and the Orlando Magic from 2016-17 to 2017-18 before landing with L.A. in 2019. He led the Pacers to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances in 2013 and 2014.