The Phoenix Suns are set to hire veteran coach Frank Vogel to fill their vacancy, according to multiple reports.
The Phoenix Suns are hiring Frank Vogel as the team’s new head coach. After two Eastern Conference appearances with Paul George in Indy, an NBA title with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in LA, Vogel will now coach Kevin Durant and Devin Booker.
Details at @TheAthletic: https://t.co/QWzIOPShyC
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 2, 2023
BREAKING: The Suns are set to hire Frank Vogel as the club’s next coach, ESPN sources say. The parties are starting work on a long-term agreement. Vogel brings an NBA title in 2020 and a history of building high-level defenses. photo.twitter.com/csF6bO8Bp7
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 2, 2023
Vogel has been out of the NBA since the Los Angeles Lakers fired him after the 2021-22 season. He led the Lakers to the NBA title in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season, going 127-98 over three seasons there and making the playoffs twice. Vogel was fired exactly 18 months after leading the Lakers to their 17th title in his first season at the helm.
In Phoenix, Vogel will replace coach Monty Williams, who was fired shortly after the team’s loss to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals. Williams recently reached a $78.8 million contract to become the coach of the Detroit Pistons, but that has not yet been made public.
Suns general manager James Jones hired Williams in 2019, when Robert Sarver still owned the Suns. He continued to elevate Phoenix’s culture and winning percentage, culminating in a playoff run that simultaneously snapped the longest playoff drought in team history. They followed that up with a career-high 64 wins in 2021-2022, only to be stunned by Dallas.
The 2022-23 season was less successful for Williams and the Suns. Veteran starter Jae Crowder requested a trade and didn’t suit up for the team before eventually getting a deal as part of the blockbuster deal that brought Kevin Durant from Brooklyn to Phoenix. Yet Durant’s immediate arrival was met with the same injury luck that plagued the team all season, and the newly arrived superstar played just eight games with his new team before the playoffs.
Williams’ chemistry with starting center Deandre Ayton was also notable. Ayton, the club’s first No. 1 overall pick, surprised many when he said neither he nor Williams spoke during the 2022 season, as Ayton signed a max offer sheet with Indiana before Phoenix immediately matched it to keep him. Ayton’s production in the 2023 playoffs was notably down compared to previous seasons, and Williams ultimately benched him in favor of backup Jock Landale during key moments in the Suns-Nuggets series.
Vogel is perhaps best known for the success he enjoyed with the Indiana Pacers in the early 1990s, making the playoffs in five of six seasons (2010-11 through 2015-16) under his leadership. The peak under Vogel came in 2013-14, when the Pacers won 56 games with a team led by Paul George, David West and others.
Vogel was fired by the Pacers as their coach on May 5, 2016, but was not unemployed for long. He then coached the Orlando Magic for two seasons, amassing a 54-110 record as the team went through a long rebuild.
Vogel was hired in May 2019 by the Lakers to assemble a cohesive team around LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who was officially acquired from New Orleans two months later. Vogel’s plans worked immediately: His first team withstood the NBA’s coronavirus and then won a ring, with Vogel leading a deep, dominant defensive team to the title.
Ultimately, the Lakers parted ways with Vogel after a 33-49 season in 2021-22 as a veteran group led by James, Davis and Russell Westbrook never found its rhythm.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.