Frank Vogel

Stein’s Latest: Celtics, Vogel, Stotts, Crowder, Bogdanovic, Lakers

Having failed to lure Clippers assistant Jay Larranaga back to Boston, the Celtics remain on the lookout for a veteran assistant who could help guide newly promoted Joe Mazzulla through his first season as an NBA head coach, as we relayed on Thursday.

According to Marc Stein at Substack, two veteran head coaches are among the potential candidates on the Celtics’ radar — the team has shown interest in Frank Vogel and Terry Stotts. However, Boston is pessimistic about its chances of being able to hire either Vogel or Stotts as an assistant to an unproven head coach, Stein writes.

Stein’s latest round-up of notes and rumors from around the NBA includes a few other interesting tidbits:

  • The divide between Jae Crowder and the Suns began when the veteran forward let the team know he was seeking a contract extension, according to Stein, who says the Suns essentially responded by telling the 32-year-old that he was no longer a lock to start or finish games ahead of Cameron Johnson. Crowder remains away from the team as Phoenix attempts to find a suitable trade.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic is another veteran forward in his 30s who is looking for a new deal as he enters a contract year. Stein suggests that Bogdanovic’s desire for a multiyear extension may have cooled his trade market a little, dissuading some potential suitors from pushing harder for him. Presumably, Bogdanovic is seeking more years and/or dollars than teams would have been comfortable offering, and those clubs weren’t prepared to surrender valuable assets for a one-year rental. The Pistons ultimately acquired the 33-year-old from Utah for Kelly Olynyk, Saben Lee, and cash.
  • As has been reported ad nauseam, the Lakers would only be willing to surrender their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in a trade that significantly boosts their championship odds. According to Stein, that same principle applies to the team’s 2023 salary cap flexibility — the Lakers would be open to reducing or eliminating their ’23 cap space by taking on future salary if the deal makes them a legitimate title contender.

Southwest Notes: Wood, Mavs, Vogel, Spurs, McCollum

After Jason Kidd told reporters on Monday that the plan is for Christian Wood to come off the bench in his first season for the Mavericks, the big man said in his own media session that he was hearing about it for the first time. Following up on that topic on Tuesday, Kidd admitted he hadn’t spoken directly to Wood about his role, but he also suggested the big man wasn’t totally in the dark about it.

“I haven’t really talked to him about that. I know my assistants have,” Kidd said, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). “When you use the term, ‘When you check in with six minutes…’ that means you didn’t start.

“So we’ll get to talking about his role as we go forward. I’ve never coached him, so I want to first see what he’s capable of doing with different lineups and different combinations here in preseason, and then we’ll make a decision on where he’s going to play, if he’s coming off the bench or starting. But right now, he will not start.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Frank Vogel will be with the Mavericks in training camp for “a couple of days,” according to Kidd, who said the former Lakers head coach took him up right away on an open invitation to visit (Twitter link via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News). Vogel, who worked with Kidd in Los Angeles, doesn’t have a formal NBA job this season after being let go by L.A. in the spring.
  • Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t have any delusions about his team’s ability to seriously contend this season, telling reporters on Monday, “Nobody here should go to Vegas and bet on this team to win the championship,” as Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News relays. While his young players are hoping to defy the odds and win more games than expected, Popovich said the focus will be on player development and growth. “At this point, the job is really to start them out the right way,” Popovich said. “Just like a new baby, and giving that baby all the nutrients it needs to develop properly and in the best environment. That’s our goal. Whatever success we have will come from that.”
  • CJ McCollum‘s new two-year contract extension with the Pelicans has a declining structure, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). McCollum will earn $33.3MM in 2024/25 and $30.7MM in ’25/26.

Latest On Ime Udoka

The affair with a staff member that led to coach Ime Udoka’s year-long suspension has been known about by some members of the Celtics organization since July, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Franchise leaders originally believed the affair was consensual, but sources tell Charania that the woman recently accused Udoka of making “unwanted comments” to her. That led to several internal interviews that resulted in Thursday’s announcement that Udoka won’t coach the team this season.

Team owners and president Brad Stevens met for several hours Thursday to determine what action to take against Udoka, Charania’s sources add. Stevens and some front office officials also talked to players about Udoka’s fate at the team facility.

The 45-year-old coach issued a brief statement Thursday night apologizing to players, fans, the team and his family. He said he accepts the decision and won’t comment any further on the situation.

There’s more on the potential effects of Udoka’s suspension:

  • Udoka may become a candidate for other head coaching jobs that open up, possibly as soon as this season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on a SportsCenter appearance (video link). Udoka wasn’t given any assurances that he will return to the Celtics’ sidelines once his suspension is over, and Woj indicates that the team is still figuring out its next step. Wojnarowski also said the decision to impose a one-year suspension rather than firing Udoka right away could be “legal protection” for the organization.
  • Joe Mazzulla, who will take over as interim coach, will be in a difficult position all season, Jared Weiss of The Athletic says in a discussion of how Udoka’s actions will affect the team. Mazzulla is getting his first head coaching opportunity at age 34, but not as the result of going through the normal hiring process. The Celtics have confidence in Mazzulla, but the pressure to succeed will be intense. The team expects to contend for a title after its run to the NBA Finals last season, and there could be calls for a change if Mazzulla doesn’t succeed right away.
  • Don’t be surprised if the Celtics consider bringing in Lakers head coach Frank Vogel as an assistant, tweets Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Vogel has a long relationship with Stevens and would bring some head coaching experience to the team’s bench.
  • The Udoka situation could have negative repercussions long past this season, suggests A. Sherrod Blakely of Full Court Press. Udoka was hired partially because of the bonds he formed with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on Team USA, and Blakely wonders if his potential departure might make those stars look elsewhere when they become free agents.

Warriors Notes: Payton, Curry, Thompson, Assistant Coaches

Gary Payton II has become a fan favorite in his first full season with the Warriors, writes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. Some of the affection stems from his Oakland roots and some can be explained by the years-long struggle he had to make the league before earning a roster spot with Golden State.

Payton received a thunderous ovation when he entered Sunday’s Game 2, playing for the first time since fracturing his left elbow in the second-round series against Memphis. He consistently provides energy off the bench and fans have responded, putting him in the top five among team jersey sales since the playoffs began.

“So hard to make this league in general,” Stephen Curry said, “but even harder (to be an) NBA player’s son trying to follow in the dad’s footsteps. It’s a different challenge and journey for him coming out of college, trying to find his way, G League, training camp offers, bouncing around the league, all over the place, then finally finding a home. … I think he was on two-way last year. He was available but not really. Then knowing he could really help us this year, he’s actually proven to be an amazing difference-maker. I think fans really resonate with that.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Curry is quickly shedding his reputation as a poor defender, according to Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle, adding that opponents are finding it harder to attack him on pick-and-rolls. “Teams used to try to call Steph into every action, and just try to pick on him, but that doesn’t work anymore,” Draymond Green said. “He’s able to hold his ground, so you’re not able to bump him off his spot, and that’s been huge for us. I’m not shocked he’s playing that type of defense.”
  • Klay Thompson has been watching online videos of his past highlights in an effort to break out of his shooting slump, Letourneau states in a mailbag column. Thompson shot just 4-of-19 in Game 2 and was 1-of-8 from three-point range. Letourneau expects coach Steve Kerr to run some early pick-and-roll action for Thompson tonight, noting that he was the team’s most efficient scorer from that set this season.
  • Former Lakers head coach Frank Vogel and assistant David Fizdale could be candidates to join Kerr’s staff next season, Letourneau adds in the same piece. The Warriors are already losing Mike Brown to Sacramento, and Kenny Atkinson is one of the finalists to be the next head coach in Charlotte.
  • Payton, Andre Iguodala and Otto Porter Jr., who were all listed as questionable, will be able to play tonight, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

Jazz To Interview Frank Vogel, Lamar Skeeter

Two more coaches have joined the list of candidates the Jazz intend to interview for their open head coaching position, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who reports that Frank Vogel and Lamar Skeeter are expected to sit down with the team.

Vogel coached the Lakers for the last three seasons, leading the team to a 127-98 (.564) regular season record and a 2020 championship before being dismissed in April. He reportedly interviewed with the Hornets following his exit from Los Angeles, but isn’t believed to be a finalist for Charlotte’s job.

Unlike Vogel, who has coached over 800 regular season games in Indiana, Orlando, and L.A., Skeeter doesn’t have any NBA head coaching experience, though he did coach the Jazz’s Summer League team in 2019. He has been a member of Utah’s staff for the last eight years, initially in a player development/video role and more recently as an assistant on Quin Snyder‘s staff.

Vogel and Skeeter are the seventh and eighth candidates reported to be getting interviews with the Jazz. Terry Stotts, Alex Jensen, Will Hardy, Johnnie Bryant, Charles Lee, and Joe Mazzulla are also said to be meeting with the team, while veteran assistants Adrian Griffin and Kevin Young have been mentioned as possible candidates too.

We’re keeping tabs on Utah’s head coaching search – and Charlotte’s – in our 2022 head coach search tracker.

Frank Vogel Has Interviewed With Hornets

Former Lakers coach Frank Vogel is among the “interviewed candidates” for the Hornets‘ head coaching job, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link).

As Fischer outlines, the Hornets have been traveling to meet a number of coaching candidates in person rather than conducting virtual interviews over Zoom. The team is winding down the first round of its search, Fischer adds.

Mike D’Antoni, Kenny Atkinson, Darvin Ham, Sean Sweeney, Charles Lee, and David Vanterpool are among the other candidates who have reportedly interviewed with Charlotte, as our head coaching search tracker shows.

Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse and Jazz coach Quin Snyder have also been mentioned as possible Hornets targets, though there has been no indication at this point that either one is looking to leave his current job.

Vogel has 820 regular season games under his belt as a head coach, along with another 88 playoff contests. He became Indiana’s head coach during the 2010/11 season, joined the Magic in 2016, and was subsequently hired by the Lakers in 2019. He has a 431-389 (.526) overall regular season record with those three teams and has gone 49-39 (.557) in the postseason.

Although Vogel led the Lakers to a championship in 2020, he only lasted two more seasons with the franchise, having been dismissed last month following a disappointing showing in 2021/22.

Vogel had one more year left on his contract with L.A., so if he doesn’t find another head coaching job this spring, he could afford to take a year off rather than seeking an assistant position.

Lakers Rumors: LeBron, Westbrook, Jackson, Handy

Even if LeBron James decides against signing a contract extension this offseason, the Lakers and team owner Jeanie Buss wouldn’t view that as a reason to consider trading him, sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic.

James, whose contract expires after the 2022/23 season, has the ability to tack on two more years (and $97MM) to his current deal when he becomes extension-eligible later this year, but Amick previously reported that the superstar forward may be leaning toward passing on that extension and once again taking a year-to-year approach.

If that’s what James decides, the Lakers would fine with it, as long as their relationship with the 37-year-old remains in a good place, says Amick. Should LeBron become discontented, the team’s approach could change, but if his “level of trust and happiness” with the organization remains high, a trade is off the table.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Frank Vogel‘s inability to get the most out of Russell Westbrook this season was a factor in the Lakers’ decision to fire the head coach, according to Amick, who speculates that the club may be open to hanging onto Westbrook and giving another coach a shot to make the experiment work — especially if the front office can’t find any appealing Westbrook deals on the trade market.
  • Although Phil Jackson is advising the Lakers on their head coaching search and is believed to be a fan of Westbrook’s, he has zero interest in coaching L.A. (or any other team) himself, sources tell Amick.
  • Speaking of Jackson, there are “powerful people close to the Lakers” who don’t love the fact that the Hall-of-Fame coach has input in major decisions despite not having a formal role with the organization, says Amick.
  • Appearing on the “Certified Buckets” podcast, Lakers assistant Phil Handy said he believes he’d be capable of coaching an NBA team, as Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News relays. “I am definitely at that point now to where I know I’m ready to be a head coach,” Handy said. “I’m ready to take on my own team and direct the ship in that fashion.” The Lakers, of course, are in the market for a new head coach, but there has been no indication so far that Handy is receiving serious consideration for the job.

Lakers Rumors: Westbrook, Wall, Monk, THT, Nunn, Vogel, James

Michael Scotto and Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype explore potential offseason moves for the Lakers in their latest podcast. Scotto asked three different league executives for their opinions regarding Russell Westbrook‘s trade value, with slightly different results.

One said he had no interest in acquiring Westbrook whatsoever. The second executive called Westbrook’s contract “terrible” and said it’s viewed very negatively around the league, and would only be dealt for multiple other salary dumps.

The third executive was a little more circumspect in his assessment, noting that Westbrook’s $47MM player option for 2022/23 is likely to be perceived as a negative asset, but certain teams might take it on in order to get rid of long-term contracts.

Gozlan doesn’t think the Lakers’ front office will consider using the waive-and-stretch provision on Westbrook, considering the team will finally be clear of Luol Deng‘s dead money cap hit ($5MM) this summer. Teams might be interested trading for Westbrook if he indicates he’d accept a buyout agreement for a slightly discounted rate — perhaps $5-10MM less — which Gozlan believes is the high-end of the range he might earn as a free agent.

Both Gozlan and Scotto think that the framework for a potential Westbrook/John Wall swap will be revisited this summer, with one GM telling Scotto that he thinks the Rockets guard can still be a high-level backup in the NBA, or even a fringe starter.

Here are some more Lakers rumors:

  • Scotto queried four executives to gauge the value of unrestricted free agent Malik Monk, and they projected his next deal to be in the range of the taxpayer mid-level exception ($6.4MM) to the non-taxpayer mid-level ($10MM). As of now, the most the Lakers can offer Monk is the taxpayer mid-level.
  • Expect Los Angeles to again dangle Talen Horton-Tucker ($10.26MM), Kendrick Nunn ($5.25MM) and draft compensation to improve the roster, says Scotto.
  • League executives agree that former coach Frank Vogel was the scapegoat for the team’s disastrous season, with one noting that the well-respected Vogel should “be able to pick his spot as a high-level assistant if that’s something he wants to do,” according to Scotto.
  • LeBron James‘ future in L.A. is the biggest story surrounding the franchise, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. James is eligible for a two-year, $97MM extension in August, which could secure his place on the roster through 2025. However, sources at Klutch Sports say that the agency and James have yet to discuss the star’s future, per Pincus.

Kings Notes: Sabonis, Vogel, Catanella, Ranadive, Clarkson, Bagley, McNair

Domantas Sabonis said he’d like to give his input during the Kings’ coaching search, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. Sacramento opted not to retain Alvin Gentry as the team’s head coach.

“I would like to be part of it and talk to everyone,” Sabonis said. “Give them my input, what I think, what I’ve seen, what could work, what could help.”

Sabonis did not play after March 20 due to a knee injury he termed “a severe bone bruise,” James Ham of ESPN 1320 tweets. Sabonis says he has fully recovered from the injury.

We have more on the Kings:

  • Mike D’Antoni, Terry StottsMike Brown, Steve CliffordKenny AtkinsonMark Jackson and Bucks assistants Charles Lee and Darvin Ham have been mentioned as possible replacements for Gentry. Anderson tosses another name into the ring: now-former Lakers head coach Frank Vogel.
  • Kings assistant GM Ken Catanella will not have his contract renewed, Sean Cunningham of KXTV tweets. He had been with the organization for six seasons.
  • An anonymous former member of the team’s basketball operations staff told Anderson that Kings owner and chairman Vivek Ranadive has wielded his influence in roster moves, which has damaged the franchise. “It’s one thing to be a fan and want to be involved from afar, but I think when you are meddling in decisions, I think the problem is you have an owner who’s too involved,” the source said. That source said the constant shuffling of players, coaches and executives created a culture of chaos, which left the franchise direction-less. The power within the front office often shifted, depending upon who shared Ranadive’s views regarding personnel decisions.
  • In the same piece, Anderson’s source indicated that Ranadive and former executive Brandon Williams were “driving forces” behind the decision to draft Marvin Bagley III with the No. 2 pick in 2018 over Luka Doncic, though there was a consensus within the organization because Bagley was a “modern-day big who could run the floor with De’Aaron Fox.”
  • Jordan Clarkson was nearly acquired in 2019/20 from the Cavaliers in a trade involving Yogi Ferrell, but the Kings procrastinated due to Ranadive’s involvement. Clarkson wound up getting dealt to Utah.
  • Current GM Monte McNair has wielded more authority than previous execs, with another source telling Anderson, “I don’t believe Vivek is micromanaging Monte.”

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, James, Pelinka, Monk, Offseason Preview

Russell Westbrook admitted he and the Lakers had a “very disappointing season” and took a swipe at now-former head coach Frank Vogel during his postseason press conference. Westbrook was often benched in late-game situations and didn’t seem to understand why, according to Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

“I’m not sure what his issue was with me,” Westbrook said of Vogel. “When I first got here, I just felt that I never was given a fair chance just to be who I need to be to better help this team.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • LeBron James, who is eligible to sign an extension with the team this offseason, plans on a major turnaround next season, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes. “I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, but I’m still hungry for more,” James said. “I’m confident that this organization wants the same. That’s what this organization has always been about. And I also want to just change the narrative of how this franchise can compete at a high level again.”
  • VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka admits his roster moves last offseason “did not work” and vows to do a better job this summer, Woike and Turner relay in a separate story“This was a disappointing Lakers season at every level,” Pelinka said. “In the face of disappointment, our fans expect more, and that’s at every facet. It starts with the front office led by me and our ability to construct the right roster. It starts with the coaches holding players accountable and making sure that there is on-court execution. It goes to our training staff doing everything they can to make sure we have healthy bodies on the court. And it goes to our players to play at … with on-court execution at the highest level because that’s what Lakers fans expect and deserve from all of us.”
  • Free agent Malik Monk said “me feeling at home” will be a key to deciding where he’ll play next season, Goon tweets. Monk was one of the few bright spots this season, averaging a career-high 13.8 PPG and 2.9 APG.
  • In his offseason preview, ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes the Lakers’ salary cap issues and lack of draft picks to improve the roster. He explores how Pelinka might approach the offseason with those limitations. In his own Lakers offseason primer, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha said youth, athleticism, length, shooting and defense must be prioritized, and they need to sign a starting-level wing with their taxpayer midlevel exception.