Frank Vogel

Lakers Sign Frank Vogel To Contract Extension

After sending out a series of press releases today to announce their free agent signings and the acquisition of Russell Westbrook, the Lakers issued one more announcement on Friday night, stating that they’ve signed head coach Frank Vogel to a contract extension.

Vogel, who previously coached the Pacers and Magic, was hired by the Lakers in 2019 and led the team to a championship in his first season at the helm.

In total, Vogel has recorded a 94-49 (.657) regular season record since arriving in Los Angeles and has put up an 18-9 mark in the postseason. He has turned the Lakers’ defensive unit into one of the league’s strongest — the club finished third in defensive rating in 2019/20 and first this past season, despite LeBron James and Anthony Davis missing several weeks of action.

Vogel’s contract with the Lakers only covered three seasons, so he would’ve been entering a contract year if not for his extension. The new deal will ensure that the Lakers’ head coach doesn’t enter 2021/22 on a “lame-duck” deal.

Still, it will be interesting to learn how many years the new extension covers. Veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein wrote earlier today that he had heard some “increasingly pessimistic rumbles” about the odds of Vogel receiving more than a one-year extension.

Pacific Notes: DeRozan, Clippers, Curry, Vogel

About an hour before word broke on Tuesday that DeMar DeRozan had agreed to join the Bulls via sign-and-trade, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that DeRozan intended to meet with the Clippers. So did that meeting actually happen before DeRozan reached a deal with Chicago? Haynes shared some details in the latest episode of his Posted Up with Chris Haynes podcast.

“The Clippers’ brass were on their way to DeMar’s house,” Haynes said. “Things got a little bit more interesting with the Bulls, it looked like a deal was going to get done with Chicago, and DeMar DeRozan’s agent Aaron Goodwin called the Clippers out of courtesy and was like, ‘You know what, let’s not waste anybody’s time. Out of respect to you guys, let’s cancel this meeting. (DeRozan)’s going to go elsewhere.'”

Haynes added that the Clippers were going to have to do “a ton of work” on their roster to be able to make DeRozan a competitive offer, suggesting that the veteran wing – who received an $85MM commitment from Chicago – wouldn’t have been willing to settle for the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.9MM), which was all L.A. realistically had at its disposal.

“DeMar DeRozan was not going to any team and taking the mid-level. He wasn’t,” Haynes said. “Not the full mid-level, not the taxpayer mid-level. He wasn’t having it.”

Here are a few more updates from around the Pacific:

  • Speaking to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic after news of his new $215MM extension with the Warriors broke, Stephen Curry said he loves the players Golden State drafted last Thursday and was happy to hear the team was pursuing veteran free agents this week, even if top targets like Patty Mills and Nicolas Batum are headed elsewhere. “I would be disappointed if there was ever a vibe that you’re complacent or that you’re not proactive and looking to always get better,” Curry said. “So if you’re telling me we’re trying to go after Batum, we’re trying to go after Patty, and things didn’t line up like that, then that’s just how the league works. But if there’s ever a situation where you don’t feel that commitment from upstairs, then we have issues. I haven’t felt that this summer.”
  • Thompson adds in the same story that the fourth year on Curry’s extension was a “minor sticking point,” given its unprecedented cap hit, but the Warriors ultimately relented. Curry, who will turn 38 during the 2025/26 season, will earn a staggering $59.6MM that year.
  • Now that the Lakers have nearly finished filling out their roster with a handful of free agent commitments, the next big question for the franchise to answer is Frank Vogel‘s status, writes Bill Oram of The Athletic. Vogel is a candidate for an extension, since he’s entering the final year of his contract as the team’s head coach.

Pacific Notes: Anschutz, Vogel, Leonard, Bagley

Philip Anschutz has agreed to sell his 27% stake in the Lakers, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times confirms. Anschutz is the founder of AEG and owns the team’s arena, the Staples Center. Dodgers owners Mark Walter and Todd Boehly are making the purchase and the transaction values the Lakers at about $5 billion, Scott Soshnick of Sportico reports.

The sale of Anschutz’s stake in the Lakers, which is the largest outside of the Buss family, has to be approved by the league’s Board of Governors. Anschutz also owns of the NHL’s Kings and the MLS’ Galaxy. A major long term question is whether Anschutz’s first right to purchase, should the Buss family ever want to sell its majority stake, will transfer to the two buyers, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets.

According to the Sportico report, the buyers will get those transfer rights.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Frank Vogel is entering the final year of his three-year contract with the Lakers and some members of the organization are surprised he hasn’t already received an extension, according to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Vogel could also face numerous staff changes since Jason Kidd, who has agreed to be the head coach of the Mavericks, could take several assistants with him to Dallas, Goon adds.
  • Kawhi Leonard has not appeared in the Western Conference Finals and will miss Game 4 on Saturday due to a knee injury, but he’s been a major presence off the court, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports notes. Leonard and another injured Clippers player, Serge Ibaka, have been dispensing advice during games and practices. “Kawhi and Serge both have been great… Kawhi is just more, you know, everything: offense, defense, moving the basketball, how we can attack certain matchups, defensively how we can do different things on certain players,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “So, he’s always engaged on both ends.”
  • Marvin Bagley III‘s future with the Kings remains up in the air and he’s facing a social media backlash from Sacramento fans, according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Bagley liked a tweet that stated, “We’ve got to get @MB3Five outta Sac man.” After a negative reaction from fans, Bagley removed any mention of the Kings from his bio on both Twitter and Instagram. Sacramento has already picked up Bagley’s $11.3MM option for next season but he’ll be eligible for free agency next summer.

Pacific Notes: CP3, Holmes, Warriors, Lakers

Suns All-Star point guard Chris Paul appears to be well positioned for his next NBA step, writes Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. The 36-year-old six-footer has missed just two regular season games during a season in which he appears destined to make an All-NBA team, setting him up for an eventful offseason.

Paul faces a decision on a $44.2MM player option for 2021/22. Much like Gordon Hayward did a year ago, CP3 could opt out in search of a longer-term deal, likely with the Suns, at a slightly lower annual rate. Alternately, he could pick up his option for 2021/22 and reassess the open market ahead of his age-37 season in 2022.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • After enjoying a breakout season in 2020/21, Kings center Richaun Holmes is looking for a significant pay raise this summer, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Holmes is hoping to net an offer in the range of four years and $80MM. “We love Richaun,” team president Monte McNair said this week. “He had a career year. He’s an integral part of the team.” The club does have Early Bird rights for Holmes, meaning Sacramento can extend Holmes to the projected $11MM league average, with 8% increases each season. Holmes has probably outplayed that amount, though Ham is skeptical that he will command a $20MM annual salary on the open market.
  • The Warriors appear well-primed for the coming seasons, writes Ethan Strauss of The Athletic. The team showed significant defensive promise despite a loss to the Lakers in its first play-in contest. The Warriors will fight to qualify for the No. 8 seed in the West tomorrow against the Grizzlies. Strauss wonders if, with the anticipated return of a healthy Klay Thompson and further growth from Jordan Poole, Golden State may prefer prioritizing role-playing offensive additions this summer as the team looks ahead to the 2021/22 season.
  • The Lakers‘ play-in victory over the Warriors has revealed the defensive-oriented lineups that head coach Frank Vogel seems to trust heading into the playoffs, per Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Point guard Alex Caruso, wing Wesley Matthews and forward Kyle Kuzma all received significant prioritization from Vogel off the bench in the game’s second half, ahead of point guard Dennis Schröder (12 minutes), guard Talen Horton-Tucker, and forward Montrezl Harrell. Schröder, Caruso, Horton-Tucker and Harrell could all be free agents this summer. Goon notes that L.A.’s successful closing lineup that frustrated the Warriors comprised All-Star forwards LeBron James and Anthony Davis, plus Matthews, Caruso and 3-and-D wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Pacific Notes: CP3, Lakers Centers, Vogel, Davis

With the 42-17 Suns now firmly ensconced in the West’s No. 2 seed, All-Star point guard Chris Paul has emerged as a possible 2021 MVP candidate, writes Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic.

The offseason additions of Paul and Jae Crowder, plus the marked improvement of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson, have all contributed to Phoenix’s (very probable) return to the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. But the 35-year-old All-Star has been a driving engine for the Suns, averaging 16.0 PPG, 8.8 APG, and 4.7 RPG with a shooting line of .487/.377/.927.

“I think at the end of the day, I know who I am and I know what I bring to a team, but I also understand with our team, it’s about us,” Paul said of his season with the Suns so far. “It’s not something I worry about or wake up and think about or anything like that. It’s just about the process, like getting ready for tomorrow’s game. I think everything else will take care of itself.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • As Anthony Davis has returned (albeit on a minutes limit), the Lakers have continued to balance their center rotation, writes Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Marc Gasol missed three games with a dislocated pinky, but immediately supplanted Montrezl Harrell as L.A.’s backup center when he did return, behind new starter Andre Drummond. Head coach Frank Vogel indicated that Harrell had been briefed about the situation. “He understands the big picture and what we’re trying to get accomplished,” Vogel said.
  • The Lakers plan to engage head coach Frank Vogel in contract extension conversations during the 2021 offseason, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski indicated on an NBA Countdown broadcast Saturday, as relayed by Paul Kasabian of Bleacher Report. Vogel is in the second year of a three-season contract he signed with L.A. in 2019. During his first season, the Lakers won their first title in 10 years.
  • With All-Star big man Anthony Davis now back in the fold, the Lakers are still figuring out their lineups during the home stretch of the 2020/21 NBA season, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN“It’s like you’re starting over with the guys and just trying to find a connection with these guys again,” Davis said. “They’re trying to find a connection with me. So, it’s like we’re starting from zero, which is tough so late in the season.”

California Notes: McLemore, Cousins, Jones, Gasol

The newest Lakers addition, athletic veteran wing Ben McLemore, brings competent perimeter defense to the club, but more than that, his three-point shooting will fulfill a need for Los Angeles, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was effusive in his praise for the new reserve: “Ben instantly elevates our ability to knock down 3s on the backside when double teams come and we can play the drive-and-kick game that the modern NBA is made on. So we’re thrilled about his addition and looking forward to getting him into some minutes and into our program.”

The latest Laker is a career 36.3% three-point shooter on 4.0 attempts per game. This season with the rebuilding Rockets, he converted a somewhat below-average 33.1% of his 5.2 long-range looks per contest. Last season, with Houston in the thick of a playoff hunt, McLemore was connecting on 40% of his 6.4 deep looks a night.

There’s more out of California:

  • Clippers All-Star forward Paul George conveyed his excitement for the club’s newest backup center, former four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN“He’s still one of the most skilled bigs in the league,” George raved. Cousins discussed his focus on his fitness in striving to remain in the NBA following a string of major lower body injuries. “I’ve put an incredible amount of work to get to this place,” Cousins said. “I’m in probably the best shape I’ve been in my entire career.”
  • New Kings center Damian Jones, inked to a 10-day deal with the team, has observed similarities between Sacramento’s plays and those of his former team in Golden State, tweets Jason Jones of The Athletic. Kings head coach Luke Walton was an assistant coach on the Warriors bench before departing for his first head coaching opportunity with the Lakers.
  • Recently-demoted Lakers center Marc Gasol made a strong case for continued rotation minutes when he stepped in for new starting center Andre Drummond recently, writes Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. Gasol appeared to be more positive about his reduced role in Los Angeles alongside Drummond. “No matter if it’s five minutes, 10 minutes, if it’s whatever position — if it’s some nights, I might not play,” Gasol acknowledged. “It’s been a process for me to reassess this situation a little bit, but like I said, I’m fully committed to this team. So, whatever is thrown at me, I’ll be ready.” Previously, Gasol had expressed frustration with the move. With Drummond now back, Gasol did not play at all in tonight’s 110-104 loss to the Heat.

Lakers Notes: Horton-Tucker, Bigs, Roster Spot, Schedule

In a comprehensive new mailbag covering the Lakers, Jovan Buha of The Athletic discussed the impending free agency of second-year shooting guard Talen Horton-Tucker, the team’s unwillingness to meet the Raptors’ asking price for point guard Kyle Lowry, and more.

Buha expects the Lakers to match any contract offer extended to Horton-Tucker this summer, even if a rival team were to offer a backloaded contract using the Arenas provision. The promising 20-year-old guard’s athleticism and ball-handling abilities are intriguing enough to warrant a wager on his future potential.

There’s more out of the Staples Center:

  • Lakers head coach Frank Vogel discussed how he would utilize reserve big men Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol, with Andre Drummond set to become the long-term solution as the team’s starting center, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. Vogel anticipates using Gasol, known for his passing and jump-shooting, as a power forward on offense while the rim-rolling Harrell would function as a de facto center. Vogel plans to reverse their assignments on the other end.
  • LA coach Frank Vogel indicated that the Lakers could use their final open roster spot to add any kind of player regardless of position or skill set, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets. The recent signing of center Andre Drummond and the club’s abundance of competent veterans at the power forward and center positions would seem to make adding a guard or wing the most pragmatic option.
  • The Lakers have been struggling to stay afloat in a crowded West without injured All-Stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James, writes Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. The team is 2-5 since James suffered a high-ankle sprain on March 20, though the club boasts a solid 104.8 defensive rating across those seven games. With L.A. embarking on a seven-game road trip, the team is hoping to get improved offensive performances from its role players. “We know what we capable of,” power forward Markieff Morris said. “We know that this was a quick turnaround from winning a championship last year, so nobody got any rest, and we know our two top guys are down right now, but we know they [are] coming back well-rested.”

California Notes: Lakers, Warriors Health, Curry, Wiseman

With All-Star Lakers forward LeBron James unavailable indefinitely as he deals with a high-ankle sprain,  Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports wonders if a rival contender like the Clippers, Jazz, Heat, or Nets will be more motivated to try to make roster improvements at the trade deadline.

Meanwhile, Jovan Buha of The Athletic considers whether James joining his fellow injured L.A. All-Star Anthony Davis on the sidelines could impact the Lakers’ trade deadline plans. Frank Vogel certainly seems to think so.

“I’m sure we’ll get into deeper conversations in the coming days,” the Lakers’ head coach said. “But, obviously, when you have two key guys that are gonna be out, you look at the trade market differently and obviously the buyout market differently, so those are conversations that will be had in the coming days.”

Buha opines that the Lakers could use an additional ball-handler with James and Davis sidelined.

There’s more out of California:

  • Warriors big men James Wiseman and Eric Paschall have been given the green light to return to the floor for Golden State during tonight’s game against the Sixers, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Both players have been quarantining per the league’s coronavirus protocols since last week.
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr noted that All-Star point guard Stephen Curry will miss at least another week of play as he recovers from an inflamed tailbone, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. “This is going to be a little bit longer than we thought and hoped,” Kerr said. The team will reassess Curry’s injury next week.
  • Rookie Warriors center James Wiseman has been named the club’s starter at the position for the rest of the season, Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports. “James has come along really well. He’s picked up a lot of the concepts,” Kerr said. “He needs to be out there.”

California Notes: Kings, Ty Lue, Wiseman, Wiggins

Ahead of the 2020/21 season, John Hollinger of the Athletic wondered if the Kings will be able to move the contracts of shooting guard Buddy Hield and forward Harrison Barnes, and whether or not Sacramento would be able to surround newly-extended point guard De’Aaron Fox with enough help to reach the playoffs.

New Kings GM Monte McNair has expressed a desire to give Fox similarly-aged teammates. Hield is currently in the first season of his four-year, $94MM extension, which declines over each year, while Barnes has three years and $61MM left on his deal. Moving at least one of those players for assets could help in McNair’s quest to find players who align with Fox’s timeline.

There’s more out of California:

  • The Athletic’s Bill Oram and Joe Vardon explore the process last summer that ultimately led to the Lakers hiring Frank Vogel as their head coach in 2019 and the Clippers promoting Tyronn Lue to their head coaching job this year. Vogel had expected to be a top assistant on Lue’s staff with the latter serving as head coach for the Lakers in May of 2019 when negotiations between the Lakers and Lue fell apart. The Lakers would not budge from a three-year, $18MM offer, while Lue was hoping to receive closer to a five-year, $35MM deal. Lue ultimately pivoted to become the lead assistant on the staff of then-Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. Lue assumed the head job this offseason.
  • Though the Warriors may have gotten soundly defeated by the Nets in their season opener, No. 2 draft pick James Wiseman flashed plenty of potential in his NBA debut, according to Marcus Thompson II of the Athletic. The rookie center scored 19 points and pulled down six rebounds in just 24 minutes. “He’s a presence,” star point guard Stephen Curry said, “and I think he showed exactly how he can open up the floor for me in the middle of those pick-and-rolls and put pressure on the rim.”
  • Warriors small forward Andrew Wiggins is hoping to be more aggressive on offense in Golden State’s Christmas bout against the Bucks, per Anthony Slater of the Athletic“Shoot, I hope I find that flow next game,” Wiggins said. “I’m not trying to wait. I’m trying to get after it and get it as soon as possible.”

Frank Vogel: No Asterisk For Lakers’ Title

Lakers coach Frank Vogel doesn’t accept the argument that this year’s championship should come with an asterisk because of the unusual circumstances of the season, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Vogel believes his players did the best job of adapting to the four-month layoff and the closed atmosphere in Orlando.

“To endure that type of intense pressure environment, where every detail is scrutinized, where the intensity was high,” he said, “to endure those meetings with no outlet of family, or whatever single guys would be doing, without an outlet, was one of the biggest challenges. It was a credit to all the participants to lean on and to support each other.”

With a title in hand after his first season as Lakers head coach, Vogel is enjoying his return to normal life after spending 95 days away from his family. Being on the road is an accepted part of the NBA, but this year was different. Like most coaches and players, Vogel was locked down from mid-March until early summer, when teams began preparing for their long stay at Disney World.

“It’s a really interesting time, to experience that double or nothing,” Vogel said. “Going from being quarantined at home to away from them 24-7 was really a big extreme for me and my family, but at the same time I’m proud it was something we really took in stride.”

Vogel also expressed admiration for the way the league was able to create an atmosphere that remained free from COVID-19 long enough to crown a champion. While Major League Baseball and the NFL have experienced frequent disruptions, no NBA player had to miss a game in Orlando because of the virus. Vogel kept his thermometer and pulse oximeter as souvenirs to remind him of what the league accomplished.

“For something that had never been done before, it was done on a gold-standard level,” he said. “To me, that was the most incredible thing about the bubble: getting that buy-in from 99% of the staff and players. There are things you come away with when you leave, like you felt there was a security blanket when you were there.”