Phoenix Suns fire head coach Frank Vogel after 1 season

The Phoenix Suns have parted ways with head coach Frank Vogel after one season that started with championship expectations — but ended with a first-round exit by way of a sweep.

Finishing 49-33 in Vogel’s first season to land the sixth seed in the Western Conference playoffs, the Suns were the first team eliminated from the playoffs as third-seeded Minnesota swept them.

“As we said at the press conference on May 1, team leadership including myself, Josh Bartelstein, and ownership would be looking across basketball operations to determine what changes needed to be made,” said Suns general manager James Jones in a team news release. “After a thoughtful review of the season, we concluded that we needed a different head coach for our team.

The Suns had the third-highest payroll this season at $193.8 million as they went over the second tax apron. Only Golden State ($209.3M) and the Los Angeles Clippers ($202.2M) spent more.

"We appreciate Frank’s hard work and commitment," Jones continued. "We are here to win a championship and last season was way below our expectations. We will continue to evaluate our operation and make the necessary changes to reach our championship-caliber goals. We all take accountability, and it’s my job, along with Josh and ownership, to build a championship team.”

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Phoenix Suns head coach Frank Vogel talks to Devin Booker during the final team meeting at the Suns 5G Performance Center in Phoenix on April 29, 2024.
Phoenix Suns head coach Frank Vogel talks to Devin Booker during the final team meeting at the Suns 5G Performance Center in Phoenix on April 29, 2024.

The Suns will now have a third different head coach in three seasons. This is after Vogel said he had "full support" from Suns team owner Mat Ishbia going into Game 4 against the T-Wolves they lost at home to end the season.

The Suns had extensive talks for days in evaluating the team and determining whether to keep or fire Vogel, who has been a head coach with four different NBA teams. The Republic reported Tuesday a decision would "soon" be made on Vogel according to sources.

ESPN reported Mike Budenholzer is a "front runner" to replace Vogel. From Holbrook, Ariz., Budenholzer coached the Milwaukee Bucks to the 2020-21 NBA championship as they beat the Suns in the 2021 finals in six games.

Ishbia was in Phoenix last week to do a full evaluation of the team. Sources informed The Republic that Ishbia and Vogel had talked, but were surprised by the time it was taken for a decision to be made on Vogel.

However, Ishbia decided to part ways from a coach the Suns hired less than a year ago. Vogel was named the franchise's 21st head coach June 6, 2023.

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Vogel replaced Monty Williams, who was fired after leading the Suns to three consecutive playoff appearances as they reached the finals in 2021. Vogel signed a five-year, $31-million deal with the Suns last summer. The Suns won a franchise-best 64 games in the 2021-22 season and made that third straight trip to the postseason last year, but never returned to the finals.

They were bounced from the playoffs in the second round in 2022 and 2023, losing the elimination games in embarrassing fashion at home to Dallas in Game 7 in 2022 and eventual NBA champion Denver in Game 6 in 2023.

That factored in the Suns firing Williams a few months into Ishbia's tenure as team owner and hiring Vogel, who coached the Lakers to the 2019-20 title. The billionaire mortgage lender bought the Suns and WNBA's Phoenix Mercury for a record $4 billion in February 2023.

With Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, the Suns were viewed as having tremendous offensive firepower. Vogel's hiring made sense in that he preaches defense to give the Suns balance and has coached superstars like LeBron James, who led that 2019-20 championship squad in Los Angeles.

However, Phoenix dealt with injuries early that factored in the Big 3 playing a total of 41 games together. There seemed to be a disconnect between the players and Vogel at various times, but the Suns won seven of their last 10 games of the regular season and entered the postseason with momentum.

Then they were swept by the Timberwolves, a team the Suns went 3-0 against in the regular season with the final victory coming at Minneapolis in the final regular season game.

Have opinions about the current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, at @DuaneRankin.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Frank Vogel fired after 1 season as Phoenix Suns head coach