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After getting swept by Minnesota, the Phoenix Suns are in real trouble | Locked On Suns

Frank Vogel Phoenix Suns NBA Playoffs
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Apr 29, 2024

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Apr 29, 2024

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a.patton@tegna.com

The big three of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal failed to lead Phoenix past the opening round of the NBA playoffs.

Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia knew it was a risk to effectively mortgage the team’s future to create a new “Big 3”. But after acquiring guard Bradley Beal and superstar forward Kevin Durant to pair with Devin Booker, the expectation was a multi-year run of dominance and perhaps an NBA title – or two.

The first full season did not go according to plan. Phoenix lost four straight games in the NBA playoffs to an upstart Minnesota Timberwolves franchise, led by budding superstar Anthony Edwards and big man Karl-Anthony Towns. Phoenix now has a payroll exceeding $200 million on the books for next season, they are out four future first round picks and six future second round picks, and with four first-round pick swaps they have virtually no assets to leverage to improve this roster going forward.

One change the Suns could make is at head coach, with Locked On Suns host Brendon Kleen discussing whether Frank Vogel will keep his job on a recent episode of the podcast.

“The core version of what the team is, and what you need to build and scheme around, isn’t changing,” Kleen said. “It doesn’t help that you can’t give a coach a roster that suits him better. I think that is probably the best reason. It’s kind of all you can change. You gotta do something, then you gotta do that.”

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Vogel has only been in Phoenix for one full season, coming in to replace Monty Williams who Ishbia fired after the 2022-23 campaign. Vogel won a ring as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2019-20, and has 480 career wins and a .532 winning percentage in his lengthy career.

The decision on Vogel is only part of the equation for Phoenix, who will also have to navigate a potential contract extension for Durant while trying to find a capable starting point guard to play alongside Booker, Beal, and Durant.

While the Suns look to solve these key issues so they can find some success before an inevitable and likely messy teardown, the Timberwolves will advance to the conference semifinals where they will play the winner of the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers series, where Denver is currently up 3-1.

Game Five is set for Monday, April 29 at 10:00 PM ET.

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