The 2021-22 season will not be a contract year for Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel. The team announced Friday that Vogel has signed a contract extension. He is the first Lakers head coach to do so since Phil Jackson signed a contract extension in December 2007.
Los Angeles hired Vogel in the summer of 2019, coming off LeBron James’ first season with the franchise, a disappointing and dramatic 37-45 campaign under Luke Walton. Soon thereafter, the Lakers traded most of their young core for Anthony Davis. Vogel was not the splashiest hire, but from the beginning he preached defense. They finished the regular season with the third-best defensive rating in the NBA, and then they stormed through the playoffs in the NBA bubble, winning the championship largely by getting stops and getting out on the break.
The Lakers went on to improve on that end in Vogel’s second season, finishing with the No. 1 defense in the league despite Davis and James missing significant chunks of 2020-21 with injuries. They were too banged-up and shorthanded to get out of the first round of the playoffs, however, losing to the Phoenix Suns in six games.
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Vogel has a 94-49 record in his two seasons in Los Angeles, and it was always hard to imagine the team making him coach his third on an expiring contract. When training camp convenes in late September, though, he will have a new challenge on his hands — while James and Davis will be back, the Lakers have turned over almost all of their supporting cast. Vogel will have to integrate Russell Westbrook, and, more importantly, he will be tasked with building another championship-caliber defense with a roster that is now heavily tilted toward offense. This will not be easy, but, given how his L.A. story started, he has more than earned a chance to try.