Lakers Rumors: LA Has 'No Current Plans' to Fire Frank Vogel Despite Buzz

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 31: Head coach Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the second quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Crypto.com Arena on December 31, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers have "no current plans" to replace head coach Frank Vogel, according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.

Earlier Tuesday, the Athletic's Bill Oram and Sam Amick reported Vogel's job "is in serious jeopardy" and that the Lakers are evaluating Vogel "on a game-to-game basis," leaving him "at risk of being fired if progress doesn’t continue."

When a team is falling as short of their expectations as the Lakers are, the head coach is almost always the subject of rumors. Los Angeles is seventh in the Western Conference at 22-22.

However, the fault for the franchise's current predicament doesn't lay solely with Vogel.

Anthony Davis hasn't played since a 110-92 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves because of an MCL sprain in his left knee. A roster built around Davis and LeBron James will inevitably struggle when one of those two is unavailable.

The trade for Russell Westbrook hasn't worked out, either, which might be the biggest reason for the Lakers' present state.

Westbrook is averaging 18.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.9 assists through 44 games. A 27.7 percent usage rate—his lowest since 2009-10, per Basketball Reference—hasn't coincided with an uptick in efficiency. He's shooting 43.6 percent overall and 28.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Amick and Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer have both reported the Lakers quietly explored trade scenarios involving Westbrook, which is a sign of how poorly the partnership has fared so far.

Between sacrificing precious depth to acquire Westbrook and failing to re-sign Alex Caruso, general manager Rob Pelinka didn't deal his head coach a very good hand.

Sam Quinn @SamQuinnCBS

There’s more than enough blame to go around here.<br><br>Rob Pelinka gave Frank Vogel a bunch of bad defensive players, so Frank Vogel is giving him a bad defense.<br><br>He’s also making completely inexplicable lineup decisions. <a href="https://t.co/SLdwXqScWT">https://t.co/SLdwXqScWT</a>

But the Lakers are boxed in. They've exhausted their best trade assets, have little financial flexibility to sign new players, and mortgaged a lot of their draft capital to get Davis.

Making a coaching change is the most straightforward gambit for Pelinka in order to alter the direction of the Lakers' season. A new voice in the locker room could be enough to get something more out of the squad, though Los Angeles' ceiling has been painfully clear over the last few months. At this point, however, it appears it will be up to Vogel to get the team headed in the right direction.