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Lakers hire Frank Vogel as head coach

/ 10:41 AM May 12, 2019
Frank Vogel Los Angeles Lakers

FILE – In this Oct. 24, 2017, file photo, Orlando Magic coach Frank Vogel watches his team play the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla. A person familiar with the search says the Los Angeles Lakers have hired Vogel as coach. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday, May 11, because the hiring has not been announced. Vogel flew to Los Angeles on Thursday. The 45-year old Vogel did not coach last season following two years with the Magic. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

LOS ANGELES — A person familiar with the search says the Los Angeles Lakers have hired Frank Vogel as coach and Jason Kidd as an assistant.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because Vogel’s three-year contract has not been finalized. Vogel flew to Los Angeles on Thursday and met with a group that included owner Jeanie Buss, general manager Rob Pelinka and adviser Kurt Rambis.

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The 45-year old Vogel worked for the organization before as an advance scout during the 2005-06 season. He did not coach last season following two years with the Orlando Magic. Vogel went to Orlando following five-plus seasons leading the Indiana Pacers, including trips to the Eastern Conference finals in 2013 and ’14. He has a career record of 304-291.

Kidd interviewed with the Lakers last month. The former star player who was a head coach in Brooklyn and Milwaukee was fired by the Bucks during the 2017-18 season. He has a 183-190 record.

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The Lakers have missed the playoffs six straight seasons. The drought was expected to end this season but injuries to LeBron James, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, as well as internal discord, resulted in a 37-45 record.

It’s an interesting pairing in many ways, including how Vogel was fired by Indiana in 2016 and Orlando in 2018 — and how he simply could never get past James in the playoffs.

The Pacers thought they had a title-contender in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and James and the Miami Heat eliminated them in all three of those postseasons. Vogel won 58 percent of his games in parts of six seasons with Indiana, but the lasting image of his tenure there is the fact that those clubs were always ousted by Miami.

Now, Vogel and James will be on the same side, both looking for a resurgence. This season was James’ first without a playoff appearance since 2005 and ended his streak of eight consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. Vogel is coming off a 54-110 tenure in two seasons with Orlando, while the Magic were rebuilding.

Vogel is known mainly as a defensive coach. Indiana led the league in defensive efficiency twice and was in the top 10 during his five-plus seasons. The Lakers were tied for 13th in defensive efficiency last season. An official announcement announcing his hiring might not come until Monday, which would mark the start of a busy week for the Lakers. They will take part in the draft lottery on Tuesday and will also be at the draft combine.

Vogel’s hiring is the first step in what will be — and has already been — an eventful and critical offseason for the Lakers, who will be on their sixth coach since Phil Jackson stepped down after the 2010-11 season.

The firing of Luke Walton as coach April 12 was not unexpected, and came three days after Magic Johnson stunned the team and just about everybody else by giving up his role running the club. Johnson, the former Lakers star, dropped that news in an impromptu news conference held roughly 90 minutes before the regular-season finale.

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TAGS: Frank Vogel, Head Coach, Jason Kidd, Los Angeles Lakers, Luke Walton
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