One year removed from winning an NBA championship Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel finds himself in something of a precarious situation.
Normally, winning a title means instant job security. Rick Carlisle never made it past the first round of the playoffs in the decade after he won a championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2010-11 and still survived another 10 years with the organization.
Mike Budenholzer, who likely would have been fired at the end of the season if the Milwaukee Bucks hadn’t won a title, immediately got a three-year extension for overcoming the odds and helping Giannis Antetokounmpo win his first chip.
Vogel, it appears, is not being afforded the same luxury. After joining the organization in the summer of 2019 on a three-year deal, just as it was coming off LeBron James’ first season with the franchise and a disappointing 37-45 campaign under Luke Walton, he led the Lakers to its most recent championship.
Last year, despite significant injuries to team stars James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers finished with the No. 1 defense in the NBA. Despite that, they still suffered a first round boot from the playoffs at the hands of the Phoenix Suns – leading many to wonder whether Vogel would be forced to serve as a lame duck coach in 2021-22.
This past week, the Lakers announced that Vogel would not in fact be a lame duck coach and that he was getting an extension – but refused to reveal how much. This led to a fair share of speculation around the league.
“The Lakers did finally grant Vogel his long overdue contract extension on Aug. 6 to ensure that he would not enter this season as a lame duck with an expiring deal,” reported NBA insider Marc Stein. “But the ongoing lack of clarity about the extension specifics has led to the presumption in coaching circles that only one season has been tacked on despite the championship Vogel won in his first season in L.A.”
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 10, 2021
Vogel has gone 94-49 in his short stint as the Lakers’ head coach, but it is unclear if the front office has full faith in him going forward. At least one former player recently bashed his way of doing things, whereas another called him a liar. Has that factored into how things have progressed on the job security front? It’s hard to say.
If the Lakers ultimately win another title or come close to it this season, it’s hard to see a scenario where Vogel’s job will truly be in jeopardy. Should they struggle, however, it’s not hard to envision a situation where the 48-year-old finds his seat getting mighty, mighty hot.