The Los Angeles Lakers parted ways with head coach Frank Vogel after a disappointing 2021-22 season, although he can hardly be blamed for all of the problems they faced during the campaign.
Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka justified the decision by saying the Lakers needed a new voice at the top of the coaching department. However, Pelinka emphasized the overall positive assessment of Vogel’s three-year tenure, which brought in the franchise’s 17th NBA championship in his first season with the team.
Most of the players spoke highly of the 48-year-old in their exit interviews on Monday. Also, Vogel’s assistants seem to hold fond memories of their work with the former Lakers head coach, as shown by their farewell posts to the former boss on social media.
Mike Penberthy and Phil Handy shared a picture of Vogel wearing the famous champagne googles and holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy during 2019-20 NBA title celebrations. Penberthy captioned his Instagram post with a message that read: “World Champion head coach and a good friend. I learned so much from Frank. He hired me and promoted me on his staff. I’ve got so many memories and more to come I’m sure. Thanks Coach.”
Meanwhile, Handy wrote: “#champion for life! I would say more but I will leave it at that! Hell of a coach and better human being!” The assistant coach capped off the post with hashtags #FrankyV and #PutSomeRespectOnHisName.
Interestingly, former Lakers forward Jared Dudley — currently working as Jason Kidd’s assistant coach on the Dallas Mavericks — replied to Handy’s post and wrote: “Yes sir!”
Pelinka said the new head coach will have to have “a strong voice” to be able to motivate players every night when describing what traits the Lakers will look for in the new play-caller.
Westbrook unsure ‘what Vogel’s issue was” with him
Russell Westbrook spoke less enthusiastically about his experience working with Vogel during his exit interview. Westbrook said he felt like he always had to prove his capabilities during 2021-22.
“I’m not sure what his issue was with me,” he said. “I can’t really give you an answer why… we never really connected maybe? That’s something that he has to answer. From the get-go, was feeling like I was have to try to prove myself to him and my capabilities, and what I’ve been able to do for this game.
“And, it’s unfortunate, but it’s really … kind of out of my hands.”
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