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Phoenix fires head coach Frank Vogel, but will that solve the team’s issues? | Locked On Suns

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May 09, 2024

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May 09, 2024

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a.patton@tegna.com

After suffering a sweep by the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Phoenix Suns have fired head coach Frank Vogel.

11 days after getting swept by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Phoenix Suns fired head coach Frank Vogel. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the franchise already has a strong candidate in mind in former Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer.

Locked On Suns host Brendon Kleen believes Phoenix’s issues extended far beyond Vogel, and hopes whoever the team hires next will get more structure and collaboration from the front office in order to succeed.

“There were things that you would expect to get from Vogel that you did not get,” Kleen said. “But I don’t put the blame of those things not coming together fully on Vogel. Vogel thought he was coaching a very different team than he ended up coaching.”

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Kleen went on to mention Vogel’s introductory press conference, where the former Lakers coach indicated he was building his defensive scheme around center DeAndre Ayton and had high hopes for guard Cameron Payne to step into a starting role. Ayton was traded to Portland in a three-team deal which netted the Suns Grayson Allen, Jusuf Nurkic, and Nassir Little, while Payne was dealt to the San Antonio Spurs for draft compensation.

“They did not set [Vogel] up to succeed,” Kleen continued. “That’s not an excuse, very few coaches get every single thing they want, but I think we can agree this is far from an ideal situation for anybody involved.”

Vogel’s head coaching career began with the Indiana Pacers in 2010 and included a two year stop in Orlando. He then got a chance to coach a LeBron James led Lakers team, where they won an NBA championship in the COVID bubble. Vogel was dismissed after the 2021-22 season and took over for Phoenix this year, going 49-33 in the regular season before bowing out in four games against Minnesota.

Whoever replaces Vogel will have to navigate a bloated roster with very little draft capital or room to sign marquee free agents. It’s not a super appealing spot to be, but the top end talent on this team, namely Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal, is enough to win at a high level if things come together just right.

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