Not so long ago, Frank Vogel was viewed as nothing more than a stopgap for Jason Kidd, who interviewed to be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019, before Vogel did, and was a sticking point in the team’s negotiations with Tyronn Lue. Now, it’s hard to imagine where the Lakers would be without Vogel.
In addition to being the perfect head coach for LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Vogel has kept the Lakers competitive in the games that he’s had to coach without his superstar tandem because of his defensive acumen. Even with Davis sidelined, the Lakers posted the second-best defensive rating (106.8) in the NBA. When you consider that Davis was the runner-up for the Defensive Player of the Year award last season, that’s significant.
Vogel’s contract with the Lakers only runs through the 2021-22 season, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the team’s front office is hoping to keep him around well beyond that (h/t Paul Kasabian of Bleacher Report):
“The Lakers, I’m told, plan to initiate contract extension talks with Frank Vogel this offseason. Remember, he initially signed a 3-year deal as Lakers coach. Once this season’s over, they’re planning to start discussions on extending Vogel’s deal.”
If Vogel signs an extension with Los Angeles this summer, he’ll become the first Lakers head coach to sign an extension since Phil Jackson in 2007. Mike Brown, Mike D’Antoni, Byron Scott and Luke Walton were all let go before their contracts expired.
Vogel’s extension offer likely won’t be longer than the three-year deal he signed in 2019 because all of the Lakers’ key pieces will have the ability to test unrestricted free agency in 2024 or sooner, but it will almost surely be long enough for him to be the coach while their championship window is open. You can also bet that he’ll get a substantial raise.
Was Vogel the Lakers’ first choice? No. Was the process that led to them hiring him good? Not exactly. But, in hindsight, was he the right man for the job? Absolutely, and this summer, the front office will get the opportunity to reward everything he’s done over the last two years. It’s possible that the two sides don’t come to an agreement, but it would be surprising given how perfect a fit they’ve been for each other.