Pacific Notes: Vogel, Lakers, Fox, Kings, Wiseman, Klay

Asked on Monday about the criticism Lakers coach Frank Vogel has received this season and the job he has done, LeBron James didn’t exactly provide a full-throated endorsement for Vogel, but suggested that he and his teammates – not the head coach – bear responsibility for the team’s up-and-down start, as Bill Oram of The Athletic and Dave McMenamin of ESPN relay.

“I think criticism comes with the job, you know?” James said. “Frank is a strong-minded guy. He has a great coaching staff. And we as his players have to do a better job of going out and producing on the floor.”

Vogel is less than two years removed from taking the Lakers to a title in his first season on the job, but the club had a disappointing first-round exit last season and is just 12-12 so far this year. Although Vogel signed a contract extension during the offseason, that deal tacked just one year onto his current contract, so he’s only locked up through 2022/23. Still, he said he’s not concerned about facing increased scrutiny.

“There’s going to be criticism with this job,” Vogel said, per McMenamin. “It’s something we’re all accustomed to. And I’ve been a coach for 10 years, I’ve seen it all. Is it more national? Yes, it’s more national. Is there a bigger fanbase in this market in L.A.? Yes, there is. But it’s been there for every head coach, and it’s something I’m not unfamiliar with. So it just comes with the job.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Executives around the league think that if the Kings make a big move to shake up their roster, De’Aaron Fox might be at the center of it, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. General manager Monte McNair has drafted Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell since taking the reins of the front office in 2020, while Fox was selected by the previous regime.
  • The Warriors‘ public messaging about James Wiseman‘s recovery timeline following meniscus surgery has been a little inconsistent, but it has become increasingly clear that he won’t return until sometime in the new year, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who notes that Wiseman’s timeline has been similar to that of Jaren Jackson Jr. last year — the Grizzlies’ big man missed about eight-and-a-half months after undergoing meniscus surgery.
  • Klay Thompson won’t accompany the Warriors on the team’s five-game road trip that begins on Saturday in Philadelphia, head coach Steve Kerr said on Monday (Twitter link via Slater). Golden State’s home games on Dec. 20 and Dec. 23 have been cited as possible return dates for Thompson.
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