Report: Suns player had to keep himself from laughing during Frank Vogel outburst earlier this season

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Doug Haller, an anonymous Phoenix Suns player had to hold back laughter after head coach Frank Vogel berated the team for getting off to a slow start in the Suns’ matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers on April 9.

“Frank Vogel entered the home locker room at Footprint Center and lit into his team,” Charania and Haller wrote. “After his Phoenix Suns had fallen into a 35-4 hole en route to a loss to the L.A. Clippers on April 9, the head coach yelled so much that his voice could be heard outside the locker room. There was only one problem.

“On this night, Suns players weren’t buying it. The outburst seemed forced and out of character in their eyes. It continued at the next day’s shootaround in Los Angeles, Vogel tearing into the Suns before that night’s road win over the Clippers. Vogel’s eruption left players rolling their eyes, sources briefed on the matter told The Athletic. One player even told The Athletic he had to keep from laughing.”

Heading into the 2023-24 regular season, Vogel’s Suns — who traded for star guard Bradley Beal in the 2023 offseason to pair with two more elite scorers in Kevin Durant and Devin Booker — were facing high expectations. But fast forward to the current day, and it’s evident that Phoenix did not live up to those lofty expectations.

During his first season as Phoenix’s head coach, Vogel — who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA title back in 2020 — coached the Suns to a regular-season record of 49-33, which secured the team the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference.

One of the members of the Suns’ star trio in Beal had trouble staying on the court in the regular season, considering he appeared in just 53 of the team’s 82 contests. Additionally, Beal averaged his fewest points per contest (18.2) since the 2015-16 season, when he was in just his fourth season in the NBA and still a member of the Washington Wizards franchise.

Vogel and the Suns subsequently faced off against the Minnesota Timberwolves — who ended up as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference — in the opening round of the 2024 playoffs and were thoroughly outclassed in a series they lost in four games.

To put into perspective just how lopsided the first-round series between the Timberwolves and Suns truly was, three of Minnesota’s four wins in the series came by 12 points or more. Furthermore, the Timberwolves’ largest victory of the series was in Game 1, when the team beat the Suns by 25 points at Target Center.

Considering Phoenix didn’t manage to win even one playoff game and the fact that rumors have started to circulate regarding Vogel’s future, fans of the Suns shouldn’t be surprised if the organization undergoes major changes this offseason.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.