When the Lakers announced that they had given Frank Vogel a contract extension in a Friday afternoon news dump that came hours after a report that they were unlikely to give him more than a one-year extension — if they gave him one at all heading into the final year of his first deal — the writing was sort of on the wall that while Vogel would avoid lame duck status, it would likely only be for one more year.
When that was followed by a report that coaches around the league thought that Vogel had only gotten one year tacked on to his original three-year contract, it seemed even more likely. But still, the exact length of Vogel’s extension has been kept quiet by both his camp and the team for weeks. While we could all speculate, no one knew for certain how long his current contract ran, post-extension.
Or at least we didn’t... until now. Because buried deep inside The Athletic’s big story on the Lakers’ offseason that dropped Monday morning was the confirmation of what most had suspected: That Vogel only got one extra year.
Finally, late on Aug. 6, the Lakers issued a statement announcing Vogel had signed an extension. More important than what the statement said, however, was what it left out: the terms of the deal.
Multiple sources told The Athletic that Vogel’s extension added only one year to his contract, securing him through 2022-23.
Although that aligns his with James’ and Westbrook’s, which also run through 2023, it was the kind of deal seen in some league circles more as a half measure than an actual investment. By contrast, sources said Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer was given a three-year extension in August, despite being widely seen as a candidate to be fired before the Bucks’ title run.
Again, this was sort of predictable, based on all the context surrounding the Lakers’ announcement and the whispers in the aftermath, but still notable nonetheless. And while Vogel getting a one-year deal to avoid entering the season as a lame duck is obviously the preferable outcome for both him and the team to avoid any extra chances for unnecessary drama during a hoped-for title run, it would also hardly seem to be a reward befitting a coach who won a title in their first season with the Lakers. It also puts the pressure squarely on Vogel to make sure that this season looks a lot more like that first one than the second.
Still, what’s done is done, and again, this has seemed pretty obvious for weeks. It’s hard to get too worked up about it now. If it’s an angry reaction you’re looking for, you can read our original story from when the first report that they may not even extend him dropped.
Because at this point, whether one agrees with the decision or not, Vogel himself signed the deal, agreeing to just the extra year, and he’s as even-keeled a customer as they come. He’s not going to make a stink about this, and if the Lakers win another title, it’s unlikely the front office will make such a half-assed commitment again next summer. And if they don’t win it all, and if Vogel is scapegoated for any of their failings, well... it’s unlikely we’ll be talking about an extension again next year much either way. The contract will either be done, or Vogel will. The team may have avoided lame duck pressure, but the pressure is unmistakably still on.