Well this was unexpected! Less than a day after a report about the growing pessimism that the Lakers were going to reach an agreement with head coach Frank Vogel on a contract extension before his final season under his original agreement — and likely not for longer than one year if they did extend him — the team has announced that they have given Vogel an extension after all.
The organization dropped the news in a Friday afternoon press release:
The Los Angeles Lakers have signed head coach Frank Vogel to a contract extension, it was announced today by Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.
Vogel, the 27th head coach in Lakers franchise history and the 23rd in the Los Angeles era, has amassed a 94-49 regular season record in two seasons with the team. He has tallied a record of 18-9 in the postseason, while leading the franchise to it’s 17th NBA Championship in 2020.
In the shortened 71-game 2019-2020 season, Vogel’s team finished first in the conference with a 52-19 record, earning the franchise it’s 24th Pacific Division title. He earned Western Conference Coach of the Month honors for October/November after a franchise record-tying 17-2 start to the season. The team shot a league-leading 48.0 percent from the field and tallied 13 consecutive road victories, tied for the third-best road streak all-time.
Los Angeles went on to set an NBA record by defeating 18 consecutive conference opponents on the road. Vogel guided the team to a birth in the NBA Finals by winning the first three playoff series in five games apiece. In game six of the NBA Finals, the Lakers became the third team in the last 50 seasons to clinch an NBA title in a wire-to-wire win, leading the HEAT by as many as 36 points in the contest.
Vogel also led the Lakers to the league’s No. 1 ranked defense last season, which is the third time in Vogel’s career that he has led his team to the No. 1 ranking.
Vogel is the first Lakers coach to get an extension since Phil Jackson did so in 2007.
Congrats Coach Frank!!! https://t.co/ZB3Rvlvlxl— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 7, 2021
It’s unclear if this extension is longer than a year, but regardless, this is well-deserved for Vogel. He had earned at the very least the right to not be a lame duck just one season removed from helping this franchise raise banner No. 17. This was the right thing for the team to do, no matter how long we ultimately find out they gave him.
And as the press release notes, Vogel has not just proven himself a championship-winning head coach, he has also demonstrated that he is one of the best defensive minds in the NBA today. The fact that last year’s injury-ravaged roster managed to finish the season with the top-rated defense in the league despite missing both LeBron James and Anthony Davis for large chunks of time — not to mention finishing the year with zero players on the NBA’s All-Defense teams — is a testament to Vogel’s ability to generate buy-in, and find answers for problems using duct tape, glue and whichever players he has in front of him.
That skill will be put to the test this season as much as ever, as this is the most offensively skewed roster Vogel has had in his time in Los Angeles. Will he have the offensive chops to best utilize everyone while still finding enough solutions defensively? Only time will tell, but now Vogel has a little more security to figure it out, without the threat of the kind of locker room dissension that going into the year with a lame duck coach can create.
So regardless of the ultimate contract length, congrats Frank. You earned this. Have yourself a pizza party.
This story may be updated with more information as it develops. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.