Report: Frank Vogel was always Phoenix Suns’ 1st choice in head-coaching pursuit

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Vogel reportedly was the Phoenix Suns’ first choice to become their new head coach, and they got their guy.

“Philadelphia got Nick Nurse, but Frank Vogel was always the guy Phoenix wanted,” Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reported.


“Sources told The Republic Vogel was the Suns’ first choice of the five finalists for their vacant head-coaching position.”

The Suns agreed to terms with Vogel on a five-year, $31 million contract, and he is expected to be introduced by the team next week. Nurse was also considered, along with Suns associate head coach Kevin Young, Sacramento Kings assistant coach Jordi Fernandez and former Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers.

Vogel was attractive to the Suns because he won an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2020 bubble season. He lasted two more seasons before being fired after the Lakers failed to make the playoffs last season.

“The Suns went into the process looking for a coach with championship experience,” wrote Rankin. “They identified Vogel, Nurse and Rivers as candidates who won titles as coaches.”

Phoenix parted with head coach Monty Williams after the Suns were eliminated from the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets in the second round this year. Williams landed on his feet quickly, getting a six-year contract worth $78.5 million from the Detroit Pistons that reportedly is the largest coaching deal in NBA history.

Nurse was introduced by the 76ers on Thursday as their replacement for Rivers, who was let go after losing to the Boston Celtics in the second round this year. Nurse coached the Toronto Raptors to the 2019 NBA title and also fit the Suns’ desire to hire a coach with championship experience.

Rivers reportedly withdrew his name from consideration for the Suns job. He coached the Celtics to the 2008 NBA championship.

The Suns acquired Kevin Durant in a trade during the 2022-23 regular season, but it wasn’t enough to get them back to the NBA Finals, which they reached under Williams in 2021 before losing to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Phoenix will likely need to add some depth and touch up its roster around the edges in order to put itself in position to contend for next season’s title.

Vogel has been head coach of the Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic and Lakers. The 49-year-old also was an assistant with the 76ers and Celtics.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.