Frank Vogel’s time coaching the Los Angeles Lakers might be coming to an end.
After a particularly rough patch of games and overall dysfunction, the latest rumors say that Vogel is holding onto his job by the skin of his teeth.
This rumor around Vogel’s firing has been coming and going for a few weeks now but it’s been picking up steam in the last several days as LA has fallen back into a slump that they can’t seem to climb out of.
In Sunday’s game against the Miami Heat, the team seemed completely lackluster and uncommitted and even though they woke up as the second half began, it wasn’t enough and they still were taken down by Miami.
Frank Vogel's job is in serious jeopardy, per @TheAthletic
“Vogel is being evaluated on a game-to-game basis and remains at risk of being fired soon if the progress doesn’t continue” pic.twitter.com/J0oxcCpgZ9
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 18, 2022
At this point, no one will be surprised if Vogel is canned and sent packing.
But getting rid of Vogel doesn’t solve the biggest problems plaguing the team.
They are problems not of his making and they are ones that seem impossible to fix at this point in time.
LA Can’t Move
The Lakers’ front office went all-in on Russell Westbrook and that’s part of the issue that has them in hot water today.
Westbrook’s remaining contract is downright massive: $44.2 million this season with a $47 million player option for next season.
Because of this contract, no other team is willing to take Westbrook.
Also because of this contract, the team has no cash to spend on any other sizable stars in the league.
That doesn’t even touch upon the fact that even if Westbrook’s contract was easier to swallow, no one would pick it up because he’s been so totally inconsistent.
LA can’t trade, they can’t buy, and they are stuck with a lineup full of players who are mostly having a rough season.
The Lakers are reportedly considering firing a solid head coach for a roster-construction problem. What did they expect when they signed 10 minimum contracts, letting their best 2 backcourt guards walk for no compensation, & having 2 players over 33 years old make $80M+ combined?
— Johnny Carver (@CarverJohnny) January 19, 2022
Yes, LeBron James is playing like a man on a mission but that’s not surprising – it’s like saying the sky is blue.
But James is sometimes a lonely island of enthusiasm and determination, surrounded by younger players who are inconsistent, others who are hurt, and one who seems to be hot or cold depending on the night.
When Anthony Davis returns, there is hope the team will start performing better, especially with James doing wonderful work in the center position.
Davis and James in the paint could end up being the secret weapon the team has been searching for.
But if Davis’ return doesn’t work wonders for the team, it’s time to start considering what a first-round exit in the playoffs will feel like…again.
What’s Done Is Done
The truth is that the roster needs to be shaken up.
But the other, bigger truth is that LA just doesn’t have the ability to do so: they don’t have the cash or the trade options to make this happen.
Things are so desperate right now that some are even calling on the team to trade Davis since he’s more of a valued asset than Westbrook.
That’s a drastic move – and one that probably won’t happen.
Instead, what will likely happen is that Vogel will be fired but that won’t produce the sort of change needed.
In poker, players are considered “pot committed” when they have sunk so much money and energy into a hand that there’s no way they could fold, for better or for worse.
The Lakers are currently pot committed to their roster and that’s the real issue bringing them down.NEXT: What Is Russell Westbrook's NBA Legacy?