South Jersey’s Vogel Not Given Fair Shake by Phoenix

by Marc Narducci | May 17, 2024
South Jersey’s Vogel Not Given Fair Shake by Phoenix
Frank Vogel, a 1991 graduate of Wildwood, has enjoyed a highly successful NBA coaching career, but in his most recent stop, he wasn’t given much of a chance to succeed.

The Phoenix Suns recently fired Vogel after one season, even though he guided this disjoined team to a 49-33 regular season record. 

The axe came for Vogel after the Suns were swept 4-games-to-none in the first round of the NBA playoffs by the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

NBA coaches are hired to be fired. Vogel signed with the Suns for five years and $31 million, so financially, Vogel surely won’t be hurting. 

Yet Vogel, who turns 51 in June, has been an NBA-lifer and one would think he would like to get back into the crazy coaching ranks. 

It had to be tough working for a delusional owner such as Mat Ishbia. The Suns have very little future flexibility, having little salary cap room and one of the worst contracts in the NBA. 

That would be the no-trade clause included in guard Bradley Beal’s contract. He is also owed more than $160 million in the next three seasons, according to Hoopshype.com. 

Beal was acquired by Phoenix before this past season. James Jones is the GM, but the owner has to approve all deals and Ishbia has been very active in his short tenure with Phoenix. 

The thinking in acquiring Beal before this past season was pairing him with two other superstars Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. 

While Durant and Booker are superstars, Beal, a former three-time All-Star, has had three straight disappointing seasons, having missed 103 games during this time.

Beal is still a solid player, but he is far from being an All-Star and his durability is a big question.  

Ishbia built a team with no true point guard and little depth because of lack of salary cap room. Next year won’t be any easier with Durant, Booker and Beal combining to earn more than $150 million. The Suns have traded many of their future first round picks and pick swaps. 

What?

Here are just some of the teams that should fire their GM if he swapped teams with Phoenix.

1.Denver, 2. Oklahoma City, 3. Minnesota, 4. Dallas, 5. Boston, 6. Milwaukee, 7. NY Knicks, 8. Sixers, 9. Cleveland, 10. Orlando and 11. Indiana.

These are the no-doubters. One could make an argument for the LA Clippers and Miami Heat to be on this list, not to mention several losing teams such as San Antonio, which has promising young players such as NBA Rookie of the Year Victor Webanyama.

This is the type of owner that Vogel had to coach for. 

A former Sixers assistant, Vogel has been a head coach for four NBA teams, Indiana, Orlando, the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix. 

Only his time in Orlando (54-110 in two seasons) didn’t contain some form of success.

He twice guided Indiana to the Eastern Conference finals. 

His Lakers team won the NBA title in the bubble season of 2019-2020 and the Suns with a poorly constructed roster, still earned the sixth seed in the tough Western Conference with a .598 winning percentage. 

Vogel is known for his defensive acumen, but he fielded a team that only wanted to outscore opponents, not the best way to win consistently in the NBA.

Even with those poor Orlando seasons, Vogel has a 480-422 (.532) career regular season NBA record and is 49-43 (.533) in the postseason. 

Whether he will get another chance is anybody’s guess, but if he does, he has to hope that he will work for an owner who isn’t as irrational. 

 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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