Suns fire coach Frank Vogel after one season on job

2024 NBA Playoffs - Phoenix Suns v Minnesota Timberwolves
2024 NBA Playoffs - Phoenix Suns v Minnesota Timberwolves

After an unimpressive regular season and then being unceremoniously swept out of the playoffs despite one of the highest payrolls in the league, the Phoenix Suns plan to keep their three stars — Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal — together.

Frank Vogel won't be coaching them.

Vogel was made the scapegoat and let go by the Suns on Thursday after one season at the franchise's helm.

“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 President of Basketball Operations and General Manager James Jones in a statement.

“After a thoughtful review of the season, we concluded that we needed a different head coach for our team. We appreciate Frank’s hard work and commitment. 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.”

Jones — and owner Mat Ishbia — handed Vogel a roster with three big names but little in terms of depth or quality defenders. One of the big three was injured and out for a lot of the season — they played just 41 games together — and the lack of depth and time to develop cohesion came to bite them in the playoffs when they ran into a team with plenty of depth and defense in the Timberwolves. Minnesota swept the Suns out of the playoffs.

Vogel had his missteps this season, and there appeared to be a disconnect between him and the players at times, but he also did a respectable job given the limitations of what he was handed. Vogel can't turn Jusuf Nurkic into Rudy Gobert in the paint. The team was hot to end the season but ran into a Minnesota team that could exploit their weaknesses.

This firing wouldn't have happened if Durant or Booker lobbied to keep Vogel.

Whoever is next will be the team's third coach in three years. New owner Ishbia didn't mesh with Monty Williams and let him go, only to move on to Vogel.

Mike Budenholzer "will be a prominent part" of the search for a new head coach, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. That makes sense as Coach Bud is a defense-first coach, although that's also part of why Vogel was hired. If the Trail Blazers and Chauncey Billups end up parting ways (as has been rumored could happen), that is another name to watch.