Amid swirl of controversy, Lakers introduce Frank Vogel as head coach

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersIf nothing else, Vogel rolled in a surreal morning in which the excitement of the Lakers introducing the coach they hope can break a six-year playoff drought was dampened by dirty laundry airing from the previous season. The former Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic coach, who has a 304-291 overall record on the sideline, did his best to steer the conversation from the difficult past to what he sees as a team with “tremendous promise.”Inheriting a roster with LeBron James, a number of recent first-round picks, and cap space for an additional star salary and the No. 4 pick in the next draft, Vogel said he was brimming with optimism. But he emphasized that while his success will ultimately be judged by the ability to get back to the postseason – which is an urgent issue for a franchise which has never been shut out from the playoffs for this long – his approach will be characterized by staying present and creating a strong work ethic within the Lakers organization.“We are going to be focused on the work: the day-to-day, stay in the moment,” he said. “How do we get better at practice? How do we win the next game? Focus on the task at hand, and then those accolades, those achievements, those results, they will come.”Among the many awkward questions for the Lakers at Monday’s press conference, General Manager Rob Pelinka was asked to account for how the team came to Vogel after a month-long search for Luke Walton’s replacement that had other favorites before Vogel. Notably, the Lakers were close to terms with Tyronn Lue, who had previously coached James to the 2016 championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers, when negotiations broke down over the length of his contract offer (reportedly just three years) as well as the Lakers desiring to place former Nets and Bucks coach Jason Kidd on his staff.Neither of those appeared to be problems for Vogel, who acknowledged Kidd’s role as one of his assistants and is reportedly on a three-year deal. But Pelinka said Vogel ended up standing out from the initial list of names for his detailed preparation, his outlined vision for the Lakers’ style of play, and his playoff success of reaching back-to-back Eastern Conference finals with the Pacers. Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers PreviousLos Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel conducts an interview at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James watches as his new head coach Frank Vogel, foreground, conducts an interview after Vogel was introduced as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel conducts an interview at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James watches from the back of the gym as Frank Vogel is introduced as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, left, introduces Frank Vogel as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James wipes his brow as he watches from the back of the gym after Frank Vogel was introduced as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, left, watches Frank Vogel talks about his role as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, left, introduces Frank Vogel as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel, left, and general manager Rob Pelinka arrives for a press conference at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers senior basketball advisor Kurt Rambis arrives for the press conference announcing Frank Vogel as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel conducts an interview at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)NextShow Caption1 of 10Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel conducts an interview at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)ExpandEL SEGUNDO — During the hiring process, the Lakers told Frank Vogel something that was immediately reinforced in his first week at work: This ain’t Indiana.That manifested in topsy-turvy fashion on Monday morning, as Vogel spent most of his 26-minute introductory press conference as head coach of the Lakers silently listening as his general manager handled accusations of backstabbing from the outgoing team president.It didn’t throw the 45-year-old New Jersey native off his message – that he’s here to instill a positive, forward-thinking culture to a franchise in need of one – but even Vogel acknowledged it was a little outside his normal operating procedure.“It’s a little different,” Vogel said. “Definitely different than I expected and different than I’ve ever been a part of. But I understand the line of questioning, in light of the events of this morning, so you just roll with the punches.” “Throughout the process, he just continued to emerge as someone that had those qualities I talked about at the beginning of this and we celebrate that,” he said. “He is the coach. He is the right guy for this job.”Vogel shares an agent with Lue and was initially excited to be an assistant on Lue’s staff in Los Angeles. But once Lue bowed out, the Lakers “moved quickly” to interview him for the top coaching job and make him an offer.“It’s very emotional and exciting,” he said from the dais. “I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty cool to be up here right now.”Vogel’s belief that the future holds brighter things applies to his own coaching style, which he said has evolved since his days in Indiana. A disciple of Rick Pitino, Vogel built Indiana teams which won with defensive grit and just enough on the offensive end. But as the NBA has changed, so has he, he said, and in Orlando, he tried to grow a more 3-point-oriented style that he continued to study into his “sabbatical year” since he was fired from the Magic in 2018.Under his leadership, Vogel said the Lakers will aim to create an “outside-in” approach to offense which will rely on the threat of 3-point shooting to set up attacking the rim. It puts an impetus on the front office to add shooting in free agency to a team that finished 29th in 3-point percentage (33.3). On defense, Vogel will shoot for an inverse approach: a scheme predicated on protecting the rim and the paint first.“I’m really, really excited about the chance to instill my beliefs of how it’s going to look,” Vogel said.Kidd’s hire has incited speculation since it was first reported: As a former assistant coach who has a pre-existing relationship with James who has had sometimes turbulent relationships with coaches and management, outsiders have wondered if Kidd would function as an in-house replacement for Vogel if his tenure gets off to a rough start.Vogel literally laughed at the suggestion.“You can’t worry about looking over your shoulder,” he said. “You gotta worry about getting good damn coaches. That’s how I feel about this hire.”Vogel said he had extensive conversations with Kidd, whose hire has not been officially announced by the organization, and that he believed Kidd would be “an incredible asset” in what he hopes will be a collaborative coaching staff.Asked about Kidd’s history of domestic violence (he pled guilty to spousal abuse in 2000 as a player), Vogel said it did initially concern him, but he and Kidd had spoken about it: “This was something that was in the past and he’s sort of spoken upon it and moved on from it. I believe he’s in a very different place than back then.”Related Articles How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years center_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions The introduction was attended by most of the Lakers’ front office staff and several players, most notably James who stood in the wings of the team’s practice facility and did not speak publicly to reporters. Vogel’s Pacers teams twice clashed in the conference finals with James’ Miami Heat teams, once pushing them to seven games before the Heat prevailed. Vogel said his conversations with James had been “very positive,” and he sounded hopeful that the culture he built in Indiana would help inform their future relationship and buy in his investment.He didn’t see a clash of ideology trying to coach a young group along with a veteran of James’ stature: “Every player I’ve ever been around that’s, quite frankly, worth a damn wants to be challenged and wants to be pushed and wants to be coached hard and wants to be held accountable.”Vogel is the latest in an unsteady chain of coaches: He’s the fifth coach the Lakers have hired since Phil Jackson left in 2011. None have lasted longer than Walton, who coached for three years without bringing the Lakers back to the postseason, finishing his final campaign with a 37-45 record marred by injuries.Even on a day when the baggage of the last era was still front and center, Vogel remained undaunted – and promised that true change is forthcoming.“There’s a positive vibe happening with our team right now,” he said. “There really is. OK? And it’s just one of those things where you’re going to have to wait and see, but you’re going to be happy with the product that we put on the floor this year and where we’re going as an organization. You really are.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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