Despite having their best win of the season to start the week, the conversation around the Lakers has been dominated by the future of head coach Frank Vogel. After reports on Tuesday morning indicated Vogel’s job was on the line in Monday’s game and his future remains uncertain.
With the team not having practice on Tuesday, Vogel spoke to the media about the pressure surrounding his job.
“I don’t feel like I’m under siege,” Vogel said. “It’s not hard to do my job. I’m very focused on the task at hand. I’ve always been that way. It’s not really not up to me if it’s fair or not. It comes with the territory. It comes with being the Lakers coach. You have high expectations. This fanbase really cares. It’s a big market and I wouldn’t want it any other way, to be honest with you. I want people to care. I want people to want the best and to command excellence of our group. That’s what we command of ourselves so that’s the way it is.”
Vogel revealed that he has continued to have regular meetings with the front office the day after each game, something that hasn’t changed in his three years with the franchise.
But while things may be normal in the day-to-day operations of the Lakers, things appear far from the normal on the outside. Along with the original report from Bill Oram and Sam Amick of The Athletic of his job being in danger, Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the LA Times revealed that Kurt Rambis — an ambiguously powerful man within the Lakers front office — sat in on the coaches pregame meeting ahead of Monday’s win over the Jazz, something that is not ordinary.
On Wednesday, Vogel noted that he had received texts of support in recent days but was both keeping those personal while also attempting to block them out.
“People can text me and I appreciate supportive texts but I feel good about what we’re doing with our team,” Vogel said. “Don’t feel good always about the results but I believe in what we can do this year. I’m steadfastly remaining focused on the task at hand.”
It’s hard to imagine that this is the same Lakers franchise that won the title 16 months ago, from front office through head coach and down to the core pieces of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. For many, the argument for keeping Vogel is just that. Championship-winning coaches are hard to find and the Lakers have one in-house.
That things have gotten to this point is not a great sign for a franchise that appeared to have stability as the final buzzer sounded in the bubble in Orlando in October of 2020. In that respect, it’s shocking the Lakers are at a point where Vogel may not be the head coach throughout the remainder of the season, even if he Vogel won’t admit it.
“I don’t pay attention to whether it’s surprising or not,” Vogel said. “In this business and with this team, if you’re not winning at a super high level, you’re going to get this type of noise. I’m good at blocking that out. I feel good about the job that we’re doing and, obviously, we believe that the results are going to come. But you’re going to have, over the course of an 82-game season with a new group, you’re going to have some ugly nights.”
For both the sake of the playoff chances of the Lakers moving forward and for Vogel’s chances of maintaining his current position, the Lakers certainly can’t afford to have any more of those ugly nights in the future.