Suns Fire Frank Vogel

The Suns have fired head coach Frank Vogel, the team announced in a press release (Twitter link via Sam Amick of The Athletic).

After a thoughtful review of the season, we concluded that we needed a different head coach for our team,” said president of basketball operations and general manager James Jones. “We appreciate Frank’s hard work and commitment. We are here to win a championship and last season was way below our expectations.”

The news was first broken by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who says (via Twitter) former Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer will be a “prominent part” of Phoenix’s new coaching search.

The Suns dismissed Vogel, who won a championship as head coach of the Lakers in 2020, after just 11 months on the job. When he was hired last June, he reportedly received a five-year, $31MM contract.

It was an up-and-down 2023/24 season for Vogel and the Suns, who entered the campaign with championship aspirations but were swept in their first-round playoff series by the Timberwolves. Minnesota currently leads its second-round series with the defending-champion Nuggets 2-0 after winning a pair of games in Denver.

Phoenix went 49-33 during the regular season, claiming the West’s No. 6 seed entering the playoffs. Injuries, holes on the roster, and positional/skill overlap were issues throughout ’23/24.

The Suns’ gig was Vogel’s fourth NBA head coaching job. He coached the Pacers for five-and-a-half seasons from 2011-16, moved to Orlando from 2016-18, and was the Lakers’ leader for three years from 2019-22. He was an assistant with Boston, Philadelphia and Indiana before the Pacers promoted him mid-season in 2011.

Phoenix will be looking for another head coach for the second straight offseason, as the team dismissed former Coach of the Year Monty Williams, who led the team to an NBA Finals appearance in 2021, last year.

Owner Mat Ishbia has made several eyebrow-raising moves since he took majority control in 2023, pushing for a blockbuster trade for Kevin Durant and then adding another maximum-salary player in Bradley Beal last offseason. Ishbia and Jones projected optimism at a press conference following the team’s playoff ouster, yet ultimately made another major change by firing Vogel.

While Jones’ job is safe, Phoenix will be making other front office changes, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7, who reports (All Twitter links) that the coaching search will likely only feature two or three names, with former NBA sharpshooter J.J. Redick not among the candidates. Budenholzer is the current frontrunner, Gambadoro confirms, adding that a decision should be made by next week.

Phoenix had the league’s third-highest payroll in ’23/24, and that figure is projected to continue to grow in ’24/25. Whomever is hired will obviously face intense pressure to produce immediate results next season.

As our tracker shows, the Nets and Hornets have concluded their coaching searches in 2024, while the Suns join the Lakers and Wizards as teams with ongoing searches.

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