Lakers fire Frank Vogel; targeting Raptors' Nick Nurse
Frank Vogel is out as coach of the Lakers, ending weeks of speculation about his future after a lackluster season that ended with an 11th-place finish in the Western Conference. The Lakers, who announced Vogel's dismissal on Monday, are targeting Toronto's Nick Nurse as a possible successor, multiple sources told The Athletic.
In three seasons as coach, the 48-year-old Vogel helped lead the franchise to the 2020 NBA championship and had a 127-98 record. But the Lakers have been searching for a new voice as they finished this season with a 33-49 record and missed the playoffs. The Lakers were Vogel's third team as head coach after stints with the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Frank both on and off the court," Lakers general manager and vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka said in a release. "Frank is a great coach and a good man. We will forever be grateful to him for his work 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."
Nurse, who signed a multiyear contract extension in 2020, led the Raptors to the NBA championship in 2018-19, his first season at the helm. He was voted the NBA's Coach of the Year the following season after setting a franchise record with a .736 winning percentage. This season, Toronto finished with a 48-34 record, good for fifth in the Eastern Conference and a playoff berth.
It's unclear whether Nurse, 54, will be attainable or have an interest in the job, but the Lakers are hoping he is an option with the allure of coaching LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the Los Angeles market.
To acquire him, the Lakers would need to receive permission from the Raptors and likely engage them in a prospective trade. Over the next several weeks, expect several other candidates to emerge, including Michigan coach Juwan Howard, who interviewed for the opening in 2019.
After an ESPN report emerged Sunday that Vogel was out as the Lakers' coach, he said he hadn't "been told shit."
"We'll deal with tomorrow tomorrow," he added.