On Friday morning, longtime NBA insider Marc Stein dropped the first report we’ve gotten this season that Lakers head coach Frank Vogel might be on the hot seat, reporting in his Substack that there is “rising buzz in coaching circles” that Vogel’s chair is getting warm.
Then, on Friday night, the Lakers spent most of the night looking like a team that was trying to get their coach fired, dropping to 10-11 overall with a triple-overtime loss to a woeful Sacramento Kings team missing multiple contributors. So, perhaps unsurprisingly, that meant that Saturday featured more reports that speculation within the league about Vogel’s job security is growing.
The latest buzz come courtesy of Sam Amick of The Athletic ($$$), who reports that while the Lakers are not necessarily sending out the whispers about Vogel’s job security...
Only Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, general manager Rob Pelinka and trusted advisor Kurt Rambis likely know if Vogel is truly in trouble. OK, you could probably add LeBron James, Anthony Davis and their agent, Rich Paul, to that list, too. But there’s no clarity from this vantage point in terms of the organizational outlook on Vogel’s status.
... it sounds like the writing is sort of on the wall already, because in addition to other coaches, their agents are already circling the waters like sharks who sniffed out some chum (emphasis mine):
As longtime NBA scribe Marc Stein first noted Thursday, there is indeed growing chatter in both coaching circles and the coaching agent world that Vogel needs to turn this around sooner rather than later. That’s never a foolproof indicator of what’s to come, but the Kings’ recent choice to fire Walton and promote Alvin Gentry reminded us that it shouldn’t be ignored either.
These are wildly different situations, to be sure, but the general calculus remains roughly the same. Frustration rises. You can’t fire the players. Something must be done to change the mood. That sort of thing.
As Amick notes in his story, none of that necessarily means that Vogel is assured to get fired. The Lakers could be far more patient than we’re giving them credit for. But agents are experts at backchanelling and sniffing out weakness, and if they’re already talking about this, word may be getting around. And by continuing to hamstring his offense with his decision to start DeAndre Jordan and Avery Bradley to try and fix a defense that still sucks and has left the team throwing shade at Vogel and each other, Vogel is certainly not helping himself quiet these rumblings.
It’s not Vogel’s fault this roster is flawed, but it can’t be argued that he has helped the situation. And with little other levers to pull, if he’s not the solution, the team may ultimately decide he’s the problem.
So at some point, as unfair as it may be in some ways to scapegoat Vogel — who won a title with this team barely more than a calendar year ago — for not fixing problems he isn’t the only one creating, the team may have to rip the band-aid off here. And when that happens, it sounds like these aforementioned coaching agents will be more than ready to get their clients installed as his replacement. The NBA’s seedy underbelly is a dirty world, but the predictions to emanate from it are usually pretty spot-on. Vogel will just have to hope his bosses buy his point that they can’t evaluate the team until its last two injured role players return, because what this group has shown so far certainly isn’t helping his case.