Phoenix Suns Fire Coach Frank Vogel After Disappointing Season and Early Playoff Exit


It’s the end of the road for Frank Vogel, relegated to the annals of Phoenix Suns’ history after an underwhelming season that culminated in an early playoff departure. The storied franchise gave the 50-year-old coach his marching orders yesterday, echoing the relentless pound of the NBA’s hard court, a little over a fortnight since the Suns were shown the exit in the initial playoff round by the unflinching Minnesota Timberwolves.

Painstakingly reviewing a year of missed shots and squandered opportunities, the Suns’ front office, lead by general manager James Jones, determined that a change at the helm was imperative. Despite recognizing Vogel’s unwavering commitment and dedicated service, Jones opined that a fresh tactical viewpoint was needed to pilot the team.

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Last summer, Vogel’s arrival was met with a rousing reception and credence that he would successfully spearhead the Suns’ All-Star trinity consisting of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. Despite a smattering of triumphant episodes, the trio found synergy elusive.

Compromised by Beal’s injury in the first half of the season, the Suns also grappled with a spate of turnovers and a scant bench. Vogel, prior to the fourth game against the Timberwolves, professed support from Mat Ishbia, the team’s owner, and anticipated a sophomore season. Today, he finds himself jobless.

Vogel, despite his 2020 championship triumph with the Lakers in the Florida bubble, was widely seen as an ill-suited candidate to lead the Suns. A defensive strategist, Vogel appeared to be playing against the Suns’ offensive prowess, constantly seeming to be in search of solutions.

Reflecting on the turbulent season, Durant alluded to an inconsistency that plagued the team’s performance and playing style. However, he expressed optimism for a future built on individual player growth and tactical improvements drawn from their season’s experiences. Both Booker and Durant will now switch focus to represent the U.S in the upcoming Paris Olympics.

Ishbia, leading the franchise for the past one and a half years, demonstrated audacity in his major maneuvers – orchestrating a trade deal for Durant mid-last season, which consequently overhauled a roster that had reached the Finals in 2021. This preceded the dismissal of coach Monty Williams, followed by the prominent acquisition of Beal during the summer. However, these seismic shifts have thus far given way to colossal disappointment.

The franchise now finds itself in the market for its third head coach in as many seasons. Among the potential coaching prospects is Mike Budenholzer, formerly of the Bucks, who outmaneuvered the Suns in the 2021 Finals. Jones asserts that the franchise is poised for championship glory, keen to ensure necessary operational alterations to achieve their lofty ambitions.

However, bound by the league’s salary cap, Jones is severely restricted in making significant modifications unless major shakeups are made, given the hefty player contracts of Durant, Booker, Beal, and a newly appended $70 million, four-year extension for Grayson Allen. Despite barely escaping the play-in tournament, the Suns concluded the regular season with a respectable 49-33 win-loss record.

Taking his leave, Vogel departs with a formidable career record hovering over twelve seasons with the Pacers, Lakers, and Suns, recording 480 wins against 422 losses.