A person familiar with the search says the Los Angeles Lakers have hired Frank Vogel as coach and Jason Kidd as an assistant.
Vogel, who is finalizing a three-year contract, flew to Los Angeles on Thursday and met with a group that included owner Jeanie Buss, general manager Rob Pelinka and adviser Kurt Rambis.
Vogel, 45, worked for the organization as an advance scout during the 2005-06 season. He did not coach last season following two years with the Orlando Magic. Vogel went to Orlando following five-plus seasons leading the Indiana Pacers, who he led to the Eastern Conference finals in 2013 and ’14. He has a career record of 304-291.
Kidd, who grew up in Oakland and went to Cal, interviewed with the Lakers last month. The former NBA player who was a head coach in Brooklyn and Milwaukee was fired by the Bucks during the 2017-18 season. He has a 183-190 record.
The Lakers have missed the playoffs six straight seasons. The drought was expected to end this season but injuries to LeBron James, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, as well as internal discord, resulted in a 37-45 record and cost head coach Luke Walton his job.
It’s an interesting pairing in many ways, including how Vogel was fired by Indiana in 2016 because he simply could never get past James in the playoffs.
Photo: John Raoux / Associated Press
The Pacers thought they had a title contender in 2012, 2013 and 2014 but James and the Miami Heat eliminated them in all three of those postseasons. Vogel won 58 percent of his games in parts of six seasons with Indiana, but the lasting image of his tenure there is the fact that those clubs were always ousted by Miami.
Now, Vogel and James will be on the same side, both looking for a resurgence. This season was James’ first without a playoff appearance since 2005 and ended his streak of eight trips to the NBA Finals. Vogel is coming off a 54-110 tenure in two seasons with Orlando, while the Magic were rebuilding.
Vogel’s hiring is the first step in a critical offseason for the Lakers, who will be on their sixth coach since Phil Jackson stepped down after the 2010-11 season.
Walton’s firing came three days after Magic Johnson stunned the team and just about everybody else by giving up his role running the club. The Lakers pursued several other coaching candidates, and appeared to be closing in on a deal with Tyronn Lue, who played for the Lakers and coached James to the 2016 NBA title in Cleveland. The Lakers also considered Monty Williams, who was hired by the Phoenix Suns, and Juwan Howard and J.B. Bickerstaff
Winner gets the Warriors: There may be nothing better in sports than a Game 7 — and the second round of these NBA playoffs ends Sunday with two deciders: third-seeded Portland at second-seeded Denver in a Western Conference semifinal, and third-seeded Philadelphia at second-seeded Toronto in an Eastern Conference semi.
The Portland-Denver winner will face the Warriors on Tuesday in Oakland in Game 1 of the West finals. The Philadelphia-Toronto winner goes to Milwaukee for Game 1 of the East finals Wednesday.
“It’s for our season, for all the marbles,” Portland guard Damian Lillard said.
There have been 133 Game 7s in NBA history — home teams have won 105, or 79%. Roughly one of every four Game 7s has been decided by three points or fewer; 56% have been decided by a single-digit margin. Blowouts are rare, with only 14 Game 7s decided by more than 20 points.
Denver already has won a Game 7 this season, also at home, topping San Antonio in the first round. Nikola Jokic had a triple-double — 21 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists.