Frank Vogel

Suns Hire Frank Vogel As Head Coach

June 6: Vogel is officially head coach of the Suns, the team announced in a press release.

We are thrilled to welcome Frank Vogel to the Phoenix Suns as our new head coach,” said owner Mat Ishbia. “This is an important day for our organization as we continue to build a championship culture on and off the floor.

“Frank is an accomplished coach who understands how to win an NBA championship, which is our priority. Frank brings incredible character and work ethic, making him the ideal leader to continue to build one of the best organizations in all of sports.”

June 2: The Suns intend to hire Frank Vogel as their new head coach, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Vogel will replace Monty Williams, who was dismissed this spring after four years on the job.

Vogel and the Suns are currently working on finalizing a long-term deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Charania says it’s expected to be worth $31MM over five years (Twitter link).

This will be 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.

While his two years with the Magic (54-110) were forgettable, Vogel posted winning records in Indiana (250-181) and Los Angeles (127-98) and led the Lakers to a championship in 2020. Vogel, who took this past season off, was an assistant for the Celtics, Sixers, and Pacers before earning a mid-season promotion in Indiana in 2011.

Vogel was initially reported as one of five finalists for Phoenix’s coaching job, alongside Kevin Young, Doc Rivers, Jordi Fernandez, and Nick Nurse. Nurse accepted a position in Philadelphia, while a subsequent report indicated that Fernandez was no longer in the running, narrowing the Suns’ remaining candidates to Vogel, Young, and Rivers.

Just before word broke that Vogel was Phoenix’s choice, Marc J. Spears of Andscape (Twitter link) reported that Rivers had withdrawn from consideration, though it’s unclear whether that’s because he decided he didn’t want the job or because he got the sense the Suns were going in another direction.

Young, who served as Williams’ associate head coach in Phoenix over the last few seasons, was considered a legitimate candidate who had some support within the organization, including an endorsement from star guard Devin Booker.

However, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link), the Suns liked the fact that Vogel has championship experience and a reputation as a defensive guru. Gambadoro adds that there’s a real chance Young could remain with the Suns as the top assistant on Vogel’s staff.

In Phoenix, Vogel will get the opportunity to coach a team led by Booker and Kevin Durant. The rest of the roster is in flux entering this offseason, with Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul viewed as trade candidates and only two other players – Landry Shamet and Cameron Payne – under contract.

[RELATED: 2023 NBA Offseason Preview: Phoenix Suns]

The Suns are the latest team to complete a head coaching search this spring, joining the Rockets, Sixers, Bucks, and Pistons. As our tracker shows, the Raptors are the only team that still has a coaching vacancy.

Coaching Notes: Vogel, Rockets, Nets, Pacers

The Suns didn’t fill their coaching vacancy until after the Sixers hired Nick Nurse, but sources tell Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic that Frank Vogel was the first choice in Phoenix all along. Nurse had an interview with the Suns and was among five finalists for the job, along with Vogel, Suns associate head coach Kevin Young, Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez and former Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers.

After dismissing Monty Williams following a second-round playoff ouster, Phoenix was interested in finding someone with championship experience, according to Rankin, which is why Vogel, Nurse and Rivers were all contacted. Vogel benefited from his reputation as a strong defensive coach, as the Suns are determined to improve on that end of the court. The final five candidates met with team owner Mat Ishbia and president of basketball operations and general manager James Jones, Rankin adds.

Vogel became the frontrunner for the job after an impressive interview, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. Reports that Devin Booker pushed for Young to get the head coaching job are “overexaggerated,” Gambadoro adds (Twitter link). Young opted to remain with the team as an assistant coach. Gambadoro also disputes a report that Phoenix offered the job to Nurse (Twitter link).

There’s more coaching news to pass along:

  • Three members of Ime Udoka‘s coaching staff with the Celtics will join him in Houston, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The Rockets are hiring Ben Sullivan, Mike Moser and Garrett Jackson, and Scotto states that they’re considering Boston assistant Aaron Miles, who has also received interest from other teams. Scotto adds that teams have also reached out to Celtics assistant Jarrell Christian, as head coach Joe Mazzulla is expected to rebuild his staff this summer.
  • Ronnie Burrell, who was named G League Coach of the Year with the Long Island Nets, will join Jacque Vaughn’s coaching staff in Brooklyn, Scotto tweets. Burrell has been with the G League team since 2019.
  • Former Pacers player Shayne Whittington has joined Indiana’s coaching staff, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.

Kevin Young To Remain With Suns; Will Be Highest-Paid Assistant

Associate head coach Kevin Young plans to remain with the Suns under new head coach Frank Vogel, and he will be getting a new contract that will make him the highest-paid assistant in the league, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Young will earn more than $2MM per year in the role, according to Wojnarowski, who notes that Phoenix was determined to keep the veteran assistant rather than having him join Monty Williams in Detroit.

Young had been a finalist for the head coaching job along with Vogel and Doc Rivers, with the position ultimately going to Vogel.

Young also interviewed for the vacancies in Houston, Toronto and Milwaukee this spring. The Raptors’ coaching search is still ongoing, but it seems Young is no longer a candidate.

The 41-year-old has been with Phoenix since 2020 as an assistant under Williams, who was fired after a second consecutive second-round playoff ouster. Young was also an assistant with Philadelphia from 2016-20.

Suns Down To Three Head Coaching Finalists

The Suns have narrowed their head coaching search to three finalists, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7, who reports that Doc Rivers, Frank Vogel, and Kevin Young are still in contention.

Reporting a week ago indicated that Phoenix was advancing to the final stage of its process with five candidates still in play. Since then, one of those candidates – Nick Nurse – has reportedly accepted another job, having agreed to coach the Sixers.

Based on Gambadoro’s reporting, it appears the fifth candidate, Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez, is no longer receiving consideration from the Suns. Fernandez is still believed to be in the running for the Raptors’ head coaching vacancy, but Phoenix will apparently decide between Rivers, Vogel, and Young.

An assistant coach on Monty Williams‘ staff since 2020, Young reportedly has some support within the organization to receive a promotion to replace Williams, including an endorsement from star guard Devin Booker. However, he’s the only one of Phoenix’s three remaining finalists without any previous head coaching experience.

Rivers has won a total of 1,860 regular season games and 111 playoff contests with four NBA franchises since 1999, while Vogel has coached three teams since 2010, compiling 820 regular season victories and 49 more in the postseason.

According to Gambadoro, the Suns could finalize a head coaching hire later this week.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Ranadive, Suns, Frank

All-Star Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has been named the league’s 2022-23 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion, the NBA has announced in a press release.

Curry’s efforts in the social justice sphere of late include promoting voting initiatives and building awareness about community safety. He and his wife Ayesha Curry run a non-profit, Eat. Learn. Play., focused on ensuring nutritious foods be provided to children in underserved Oakland communities. Curry also runs a lifestyle brand, UNDERRATED, and Unanimous Media, a multimedia company, which are designed to create opportunities for underrepresented athletes and creators, respectively.

As a condition of Curry’s win this year, the NBA will donate $100K to the social justice cause of Curry’s choosing, the University of San Francisco Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice.

Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr., Spurs reserve point guard Tre Jones, Suns starting point guard Chris Paul and Celtics power forward Grant Williams were the other four finalists for the award. All will earn $25K from the league, to be donated to the charity of their choosing.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive was among seven finalists bidding for NHL club the Ottawa Senators, but has since fallen out of the running, per Randy Diamond of The Sacramento Bee. Each of the seven finalists had reportedly been proposing purchase prices north of $800MM. Ranadive’s ownership group bought Sacramento a decade ago for $533MM. The club’s valuation is currently estimated at $2.5 billion.
  • The Suns’ interviews for their head coaching vacancy might conclude this weekend, reports John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix (Twitter link). Former Raptors head coach Nick Nurse and Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez interviewed on Thursday. Ex-Lakers head coach Frank Vogel and ex-Sixers head coach Doc Rivers, who coached Phoenix starting point guard Chris Paul on the Clippers, are set to meet with Suns executives on Friday.
  • Clippers team president Lawrence Frank released a statement thanking and congratulating former Los Angeles GM Michael Winger on his new job as team president for the Wizards (Twitter link). “Michael is one of the NBA’s brightest team-builders, a strategic and creative thinker who is always a step ahead,” Frank said in part.

Suns To Interview Fernandez, Vogel Over Next Couple Days

The Suns plan to interview Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez on Thursday and former Lakers head coach Frank Vogel on Friday, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix (Twitter links).

There have been conflicting reports on whether or not Vogel was a finalist for the Suns’ head coaching position, which opened after the team fired Monty Williams 10 days ago. Phoenix lost in embarrassing fashion in consecutive second-round elimination games the past two postseasons.

Williams was coming off Coach of the Year in 2021/22 after leading the Suns to the league’s top record. He helped turn around a long history of the franchise missing the postseason, the highlight being an NBA Finals appearance in 2020/21.

Vogel was previously head coach of the Pacers (2011-2016), Magic (2016-18), and Lakers (2019-22), recording a .526 career regular-season winning percentage and a .557 mark in the playoffs. He coached the Lakers to a championship in 2020 and was dismissed after the 2021/22 season. Vogel has reportedly interviewed or was expected to interview for the coaching vacancies in Houston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Phoenix this spring.

Fernandez interviewed with Toronto in late April and was mentioned as a candidate when the Hawks fired Nate McMillan in February. After spending six years as an assistant in Denver, Fernandez came to Sacramento as associate head coach last offseason when Mike Brown was hired.

The other reported finalists have been former Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, former Magic, Celtics, Clippers and Sixers head coach Doc Rivers, and Suns assistant Kevin Young. However, another reporter, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT, cited sources who said the interview process isn’t in its final stage and that Bucks associate head coach Charles Lee and Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson are still in the running.

Latest On Suns’ Head Coaching Search

There are conflicting accounts on exactly where things stand in the Suns‘ head coaching search.

On Tuesday evening, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN both reported that Phoenix was advancing a handful of candidates to the final stage of the process, but the names the two reporters identified didn’t match up.

Charania and Wojnarowski agreed that Nick Nurse, Doc Rivers, Kevin Young, and Jordi Fernandez are among the Suns’ finalists, but Charania added Frank Vogel to that list, while Woj said there were only four remaining candidates.

In a story published late on Tuesday, Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic came down on Charania’s side, citing sources who say that the Suns have five finalists, with Vogel still in the mix.

However, Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report has pushed back on that entire series of reports, tweeting overnight that Phoenix has actually yet to reach the final stage of its interview process. According to Haynes, the team is still expected to meet with Bucks associate head coach Charles Lee and Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson.

[RELATED: 2023 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

It’s odd that the NBA’s top two news-breakers and a plugged-in local beat writer would each separately report that the Suns are entering the final stage of their head coaching search process if the club still has interviews on tap with additional candidates. Perhaps Phoenix could expand its list of finalists to include Lee and/or Atkinson — based on the reports from Charania, Wojnarowski, and Rankin, I wouldn’t consider either of them a frontrunner at this point, but it sounds like they shouldn’t be entirely ruled out either.

The Suns are seeking a replacement for Monty Williams, who was let go after four seasons with the franchise despite compiling a 194-115 regular season record, leading Phoenix to the 2021 NBA Finals, and earning Coach of the Year honors in 2022.

Initial reporting following Williams’ dismissal indicated that Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue may be atop Phoenix’s wish list. Lue’s name hasn’t come up at all in recent days, which likely suggests that the Suns are resigned to the fact that he’ll be staying in Los Angeles.

Nurse, Vogel, Rivers Among Finalists For Suns’ Job

The Suns have narrowed their list of head coaching candidates to five — Nick Nurse, Frank Vogel, Doc Rivers, Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez and Suns assistant Kevin Young, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

The five finalists will meet with new owner Mat Ishbia, team president James Jones and other team executives in Michigan this week, according to Charania (Twitter link). Ishbia is a Michigan native and played basketball for Michigan State. His mortgage lending company, United Wholesale Mortgage, is also based in Michigan.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that there are four finalists, omitting Vogel.

Phoenix dismissed Monty Williams after its second-round playoff exit.

Nurse has seemingly positioned himself to get another coaching job quickly after parting ways with the Raptors after the season. He’s also a finalist for the Bucks’ head coaching job and a candidate for the Sixers’ head coaching vacancy.

Vogel, who coached the Lakers to a championship in 2020, interviewed for the Sixers’ job on Tuesday. Vogel was also linked to the Bucks’ job but isn’t among the reported finalists.

Rivers was fired just a week ago by the Sixers but was said to be open to coaching again next season if the right opportunity arose.

Fernandez, who served as Mike Brown‘s top assistant with Sacramento this season, is also a candidate for Nurse’s former job. Young was a candidate for the Bucks’ job, but didn’t make the final cut.

One prominent name not included on the Suns’ list of finalists is former Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported earlier today that Budenholzer wasn’t considered a leading candidate in Phoenix.

Sixers Interview Frank Vogel For Head Coaching Job

Former Lakers coach Frank Vogel interviewed for the Sixers’ head coaching job on Tuesday, John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia tweets.

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer confirms that the New Jersey native was interviewed by Philadelphia’s brass as it searches for Doc Rivers’ replacement. Vogel was one of the big names that popped up after Rivers’ dismissal. Vogel was linked to the Bucks’ job but isn’t among the reported finalists.

Vogel was an assistant with the Sixers early in his career (2004-05). He was the Pacers’ head coach from 2011-16 and the Magic’s head coach from 2016-18. He got the Lakers’ job in 2019 and coached them to a championship in the Orlando bubble in 2020. He was dismissed after the 2021/22 season.

Vogel has a .526 career regular-season winning percentage and a .557 mark in the playoffs.

The Sixers are also expected to interview Nick Nurse, the Raptors’ former head coach, among other candidates.

Coaching Rumors: Mazzulla, Bucks, Williams, Suns, Raptors, Nash

Celtics staffers, including president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, have shown “unwavering support” this season for head coach Joe Mazzulla, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who says the sentiment as recently as last week was that Mazzulla would get plenty of runway to continue growing into the role he was thrust into following Ime Udoka‘s suspension last fall.

[RELATED: Joe Mazzulla In Jeopardy After Game 3 Loss?]

While it’s possible the Celtics could have a change of heart and decide to make a coaching change if the team is eliminated from the postseason in embarrassing fashion on Tuesday – or in the coming days – it would be a “stark change of direction” from the team’s original plan, Fischer writes.

While Fischer considers it unlikely that Mazzulla is replaced this offseason, he suggests that the Celtics’ coaching staff could undergo some significant changes, with multiple current assistants considered candidates to join Udoka with the Rockets. Frank Vogel and Stephen Silas are among the former head coaches who have been linked to the Celtics as possible assistant coach targets, Fischer notes.

Here’s more on the NBA’s coaching carousel from Fischer:

  • With the Bucks still focused on contending for championships with rosters built around Giannis Antetokounmpo, there’s some skepticism that Adrian Griffin – the only one of their three finalists without previous head coaching experience – will ultimately claim that job. However, Fischer acknowledges that Griffin has “certainly impressed” Bucks management during the interview process. Milwaukee’s search is expected to conclude this week, Fischer reports.
  • Many people around the league thought Monty Williams would be a serious candidate for the Bucks‘ coaching job and were surprised that he wasn’t a finalist in that process, per Fischer. The Pistons registered some interest in Williams, but he doesn’t appear to be in the mix for that job either and seems likely to take next season off, Fischer adds. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic also said Williams may not coach anywhere in 2023/24, which shouldn’t come as a surprise — he’s still owed $21MM by Phoenix, so it’s not as if he needs to rush into another position.
  • Former Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers is expected to receive consideration from the Suns, but Mike Budenholzer isn’t viewed as a likely candidate for Phoenix, Fischer writes.
  • The Raptors continue to take their time with their head coaching search, bringing back several candidates – including Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez and Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic – for second interviews, says Fischer. Many of the team’s initial meetings took place on Zoom, according to Fischer, who identifies Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson as a name to watch in Toronto’s search.
  • Steve Nash, who interviewed for the Raptors’ vacancy, is “determined to learn from his shortcomings” following his first coaching stint in Brooklyn and has a strong desire to earn another head coaching job at some point, Fischer writes.