Suns dismiss Frank Vogel after one season, early playoff exit: ‘We needed a different head coach for our team’

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The Phoenix Suns entered the 2023-24 NBA season with hopes a roster featuring Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal and 2020 NBA Finals-winning coach Frank Vogel was primed for a deep playoff run.

But Phoenix was swept in four games in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Less than two weeks after the early postseason exit, the Suns decided to fire Vogel after just one season.

“As we said at the press conference May 1, team leadership, including myself, Josh Bartelstein and ownership would be looking across basketball operations to determine what changes needed to be made,” Suns general manager James Jones said 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.”

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Frank Vogel coaches the Lakers

Head Coach Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers during a game against the Denver Nuggets April 10, 2022, at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colo.  (Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

ESPN reported that Mike Budenholzer, who led the Milwaukee Bucks to the 2021 NBA title, could be one of the leading candidates to replace Vogel. The Bucks fired Budenholzer in May 2023 after the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. He did not coach this season.

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The Suns finished this season with a 49-33 record and entered the postseason as a sixth seed. 

Vogel signed a five-year deal with the Suns in June. He was hired after the franchise parted ways with Monty Williams after Phoenix’s loss in the Western Conference semifinals to the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets.

Frank Vogel vs Timberwolves

Phoenix Suns head coach Frank Vogel applauds his players during the first half of Game 4 of a first-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves April 28, 2024, in Phoenix.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

When the Suns were still alive in the playoffs, Vogel said he was “very” confident he would be retained for the 2024-25 season and that he had “full support” of team owner Matt Ishbia. 

Vogel previously served as head coach for the Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers.

Frank Vogel talks to the media

Head coach Frank Vogel of the Phoenix Suns talks to the media after a playoff game against the Minnesota Timberwolves April 23, 2024, at Target Center in Minneapolis.   (Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

The next Suns coach will presumably work closely with Jones and the rest of the front office to find a way to transform the team’s hefty payroll into a championship contender. The Suns carry $209 million into the offseason, the highest payroll in the league.  

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The organization could move some key players this offseason to reduce its payroll and luxury tax bills.

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