Frank Vogel’s job with Lakers is in serious jeopardy

With the Los Angeles Lakers sitting at No. 7 in the Western Conference with a 22-22 record, the heat is piling on head coach Frank Vogel.

After the Lakers lost to the Denver Nuggets by 37 points, Vogel’s tenure with L.A. could’ve ended Monday had Los Angeles lost in a similar fashion to the Utah Jazz, according to Bill Oram and Sam Amick of The Athletic:

By the time the Lakers and Jazz tipped off on Monday night, sources said, Vogel was coaching for his job after he narrowly avoided being fired in the wake of the 37-point loss in Denver 48 hours earlier. Had a scene like that repeated itself against the Jazz, many believed it would have been Vogel’s last game.

The narrow win over Utah seems to have delayed the call on Vogel, as the team reportedly will evaluate him on a game-to-game basis, along with tracking if he still has a hold of the players:

Vogel, who coached the Lakers to a championship in 2020 and whose contract runs through the 2022-23 campaign, is being evaluated on a game-to-game basis and remains at risk of being fired soon if the progress doesn’t continue, sources said. It’s unclear how much Monday’s win relieved the pressure that surrounds him.

With the Lakers (22-22) now seventh in the West and the midway point of the season behind them, sources say the organization’s decision-makers are closely monitoring the key question of whether Vogel still has command of the locker room.

But the coaching staff has been aware of the mounting pressure it faces, as told by a familiar face from the front office:

The coaching staff has been well aware that it faced significant pressure for months. Sources say that was made clear to the staff early on this season by Kurt Rambis, the former Laker and current director of basketball affairs who has become one of the most influential members of the organization since returning to the franchise in 2017.

Vogel and the Lakers have had to overcome multiple setbacks due to COVID-19, along with injuries to key rotational players. The biggest has been Anthony Davis’ MCL sprain. Davis hasn’t played since getting injured on Dec. 17, and the defense has struggled to create an identity without his focus.

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A game-to-game evaluation puts a ton of pressure on Vogel, especially considering how different opponents require different tactics that need to be executed. But the leash on Vogel looks short, even though he helped the team to a title 14 months ago.

Vogel reportedly signed a one-year extension this summer, which initially signaled the team wasn’t too committed to him.


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