Despite the Lakers seemingly beginning to turn a corner over the past week as winners of three of their last five games, the heat was turned up on head coach Frank Vogel ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Celtics.
In his pregame press conference, Vogel was asked directly about his job security by Bill Plaschke, a longtime columnist for the LA Times. Here’s the full exchange between the two:
Plaschke: “Do you feel still have the support of management? Are you worried about your job security?”
Vogel: “No, I’m not (worried about job security). And I do, yes.”
Plaschke: “Have you had discussions with them about the future?”
Plaschke: “Have they given you a vote of confidence?
Vogel: “Nope. We haven’t discussed it. We’re focused on the job. We stay in the moment, focus at the task at hand, try to win the next game, try to get some momentum around our season.”
Plaschke: “Is it fair to put any blame on you?”
Vogel: “It’s not up to me. So, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. Really, I’m just focused on the job.”
The questions come a day after LeBron James was asked — also by Plaschke — after practice on Monday about Vogel and the criticisms lobbied his way this season. James’ answer wasn’t exactly a glowing endorsement, but it also wasn’t one that put any divide between him and his head coach.
Vogel and the Lakers have not had a great start to the season, sitting at 12-12 on the year ahead of Tuesday’s contest. Of those 24 games, though, LeBron James has played in just 12 and the trio of James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis have played together for only 215 minutes across 11 games.
Injuries have been the dominating storyline of the season for the Lakers, but Vogel has drawn some fair ire for his insistence of playing a traditional center alongside Davis in the starting lineup. To his credit, he has ditched the idea of playing two centers along with Davis and embraced the idea of playing James himself at center, both being a factor in the team turning the corner of late.
Vogel has certainly not made life easier on himself this season, but he’s also barely 14 months removed from winning an NBA title and a lot of the factors of the Lakers slow start are out of his control.
That a front office that leaked its fair share of stories in the past and a team with multiple Klutch clients who always control the media narrative around them haven’t produced a singular report about Vogel’s job security is noteworthy. The only reports surrounding Vogel potentially being on the hot seat have been ones citing murmurs around “coaching circles” in the past weeks.
It’s also fair to point out that the same reporter who asked James about Vogel’s job on Monday did not ask Vogel the question on the same day, but instead waited until before a nationally televised game against a storied rival to do so.
The only way for Vogel and the Lakers to begin silencing the noise and extinguishing the smoke is to start winning. With the team as healthy as it’s been all season — including the impending return of Trevor Ariza — the excuses are diminishing and the need to produce results is growing quickly.