The Los Angeles Lakers have fired head coach Frank Vogel after they missed out on the NBA playoffs.
Vogel stated that he had not been told he would lose his job after the Lakers ended a poor season with a 146-141 win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
The 48-year-old was relieved of his duties by the 17-time NBA champions on Monday, though, almost three years after he was appointed.
Vogel guided the Lakers to the NBA title in his first season in charge two years ago, but they were beaten by the Phoenix Suns in the opening round of the playoffs in 2021.
The Lakers endured a 2021-22 season to forget, finishing 11th in the Western Conference with a 33-49 record, and Vogel has paid the price.
Lakers vice-president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka said: “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Frank both on and off the court.
“Frank is a great coach and a good man. We will forever be grateful to him for his work in guiding us to the 2019-20 NBA championship.
“This is an incredibly difficult decision to make, but one we feel is necessary at this point. All of us here wish Frank and his wonderful family all the best for the future.
When Lakers star forward LeBron James was asked about Vogel’s situation ahead of the team statement release, James said, “I respect Frank as a coach, as a man. Our partnership that we have had over a few years here has been nothing but just candid with great conversations.
“This guy gives everything to the game and prepared us every single night along with his coaching staff as well. … I got nothing but respect for him.”
In Vogel’s first season at the helm, he led the Lakers to a 52-19 record and the franchise’s 17th NBA title, tying the Boston Celtics for most championships in league history, during the Covid-19 pandemic-shortened 2019-2020 during the Covid-19 bubble season in Orlando, Florida.
Last season, Los Angeles lost to the eventual Western Conference champion, Phoenix Suns, in the first round of the playoffs.
Vogel compiled a 127-98 regular season and 18-9 postseason record with the Lakers. Overall, the 48-year-old has a 431-389 regular-season record, and 48-39 in the postseason in 11 seasons with the Lakers, Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers.
Vogel had signed a contract extension last year to keep him at the Lakers until 2023, but the team struggled this season, due in part to injuries.