Lakers News: Frank Vogel Talks Big-Three Strategy, Isaiah Thomas Rumors and More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2021

Lakers News: Frank Vogel Talks Big-Three Strategy, Isaiah Thomas Rumors and More

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    Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Lakers will have a new Big Three during the 2021-22 season. While LeBron James and Anthony Davis are coming back, they will be joined by nine-time All-Star Russell Westbrook.

    Los Angeles kicked off its offseason by orchestrating a trade for Westbrook on draft day. The Lakers parted with Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell to make the deal work, but they moved quickly to retool the supporting cast.

    Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn were among the players added during the first week of free agency.

    Now, Los Angeles must turn its focus to finalizing the roster and coming up with a game plan for its new-look roster.

Vogel Planning 'Extremely Dynamic' Fast-Break Offense

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    Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

    At first blush, Westbrook may not seem like an ideal complement to the core of James and Davis. Partnering those two with a dynamic outside shooter like Buddy Hield would seem like a more natural strategy—which may be why L.A. was close to a Hield trade before acquiring Westbrook.

    However, head coach Frank Vogel envisions an offense involving Westbrook, James and Davis that capitalizes on fast-break opportunities.

    " I think we’re going to be an extremely dynamic fast breaking team, and one that can play off of all three guys, in many different ways," Vogel said, per Jacob Rude of Silver Screen and Roll. "I think with the speed, athleticism of those guys plus the complementary parts we put together, the shooters and the defenders, I think we got a real chance this year to do something special."

    If Los Angeles can get enough perimeter shooting from additions like Nunn and Wayne Ellington, Vogel's strategy could indeed be a championship-winning formula. Vogel is a defensive coach, and his squad had the league's best team defensive rating this past season.

    If L.A. can consistently play tough defense while applying pressure in transition, they should be able to wear down even the best of potential postseason foes.

Isaiah Thomas Could Be a Lakers Target

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    The Lakers haven't quite hit their roster limit, and they may invite one former Laker to round out their roster. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Lakers have considered signing free-agent guard Isaiah Thomas.

    "The Lakers, among various free-agent candidates they are still considering, have weighed the potential signing of Isaiah Thomas, league sources say," Stein tweeted.

    Thomas appeared in 17 games for the Lakers during the 2017-18 season, a year after he was an All-Star with the Boston Celtics. Ironically, that brief L.A. stint came after he was traded by James' Cleveland Cavaliers.

    While Thomas only appeared in three games with the New Orleans Pelicans this past season, he still has the offensive skills needed to be a viable NBA contributor.

    Thomas recently dropped 81 points at the Crawsover Pro-Am in Seattle. That performance got the attention of former and potentially future  teammate James.

    "Yessir Killa!! Keep going my G!" James Tweeted.

Miles Simon in Talks to Become Lakers' G-League Coach

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    While the Lakers are looking to put the finishing touches on their 2021-22 roster, they're also looking to fill the coaching vacancy of G-League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers.

    The vacancy opened when former coach Coby Karl decided not to return earlier this offseason. Karl had served as South Bay's coach since 2016, when the team was known as the Los Angeles D-Fenders.

    To replace Karl, the Lakers appear to be looking to one of their own, assistant Miles Simon.

    "The Lakers and Miles Simon are in talks to make Simon the head coach of the Lakers G League team—the South Bay Lakers, sources tell ESPN," ESPN's Zach Lowe tweeted. "Simon would also retain a role on Frank Vogel's staff with the Lakers."

    Simon has been an assistant for Los Angeles since 2017. Simon spent one season in the NBA after being drafted 42nd overall out of Arizona by the Orlando Magic in 1998.