The Los Angeles Lakers are on the brink of being eliminated from NBA postseason contention. As a result of their massive failure of a season, the franchise is expected to part ways with head coach Frank Vogel.
It's pretty absurd that Vogel is being blamed for this disaster of a season that was easy to see coming once the team traded for Russell Westbrook. The roster has never meshed and has suffered tons of injuries -- most importantly to Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Still, someone's head had to roll, and it appears Vogel is on the chopping block.
Here's a look at four options to replace Vogel and attempt to turn around a mess in LA.
Snyder has long been connected to the Lakers as a potential head coach. He spent the 2011-12 season as an assistant in LA under Mike Brown and was well-regarded during his time with the franchise. He's gone on to have a ton of success with the Utah Jazz, posting a record of 369-263 (.584) in eight seasons as the head coach. But the Jazz have taken a step back this year.
Snyder might be thinking it's time to move on from Utah. The tenuous partnership between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert might wind up being difficult to handle in the long run, and he may have just hit his ceiling there. Snyder has also been mentioned as a possible eventual replacement for Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, but the Lakers job would be difficult to pass up.
Rivers and the Philadelphia 76ers have a solid roster and a decent shot at a championship in 2022, but this isn't the team Rivers signed on to coach. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey swung a trade to get rid of Ben Simmons and Seth Curry to bring in James Harden, completely changing the roster. Rivers may be the next subtraction.
It would shock precisely no one if Morey decided to create a Mike D'Antoni reunion in Philly. That could give Rivers the out he needs to return to Los Angeles. He spent seven seasons making an awful Clippers franchise relevant in the league and knows LA well. The chance to work with LeBron could be an easy lure for Rivers, who has flirted with the Lakers before.
Rivers has a long track record of success and won an NBA title with the Boston Celtics. He'll certainly be getting a call and a move to the Lakers could be really appealing.
Stotts got run out of Portland in 2021 after leading the Trail Blazers to a ton of success in nine seasons at the helm. He's a great coach who couldn't overcome the team's roster deficiencies. A keen offensive mind, Stotts would be a stark departure from the defense-first Vogel and would represent a significant change in organizational philosophy from the Lakers.
Stotts posted a 402-318 (.558) record during his time in Portland. He's an outstanding coach who will have a job in the NBA next season. The Lakers make a lot of sense for him.
Yes, this is an absolute long-shot and no I don't think it will happen. But it would be fun, right? Coach K is done at Duke and "retired" but would he want to finally test the NBA waters, even just for a season? He's got a long-term relationship with LeBron from their two gold medal runs at the Olympics in 2008 and 2012. And he once almost took the Lakers' job back in 2004.
Do I think this has any chance of actually happening? No. Krzyzewski is 75 and likely done with coaching. But it'll be floated, and if he came in for a season with his assistants basically running everything, maybe it would appeal to him. Then again, probably not. After 42 years at Duke and five NCAA titles, he's probably done.