Just two years removed from their title run, the Los Angeles Lakers have fallen on hard times. After entering the season with Championship aspirations, the team has collapsed amid having to deal with injuries, roster changes, and increasing competition in the West.
Now, at 22-22 on the season, there is a general feeling of angst within the fan base and the organization itself.
Recently, reports have indicated that the team's struggles might soon cost head coach Frank Vogel his job.
By the time the Lakers and Jazz tipped off on Monday night, sources said, Vogel was coaching for his job after he narrowly avoided being fired in the wake of the 37-point loss in Denver 48 hours earlier. Had a scene like that repeated itself against the Jazz, many believed it would have been Vogel’s last game.
Vogel, who coached the Lakers to a championship in 2020 and whose contract runs through the 2022-23 campaign, is being evaluated on a game-to-game basis and remains at risk of being fired soon if the progress doesn’t continue, sources said. It’s unclear how much Monday’s win relieved the pressure that surrounds him.
Many fans are overjoyed to hear a coaching change could be in the works. For weeks, Vogel has been blamed for the situation, with many citing his flawed rotations and questionable strategies.
For others, however, the real issue goes much deeper. On Twitter, renowned sports analyst Bill Simmons seemed to put the blame on Rob Pelinka instead.
Vogel maybe being the fall guy for…
—The idiotic Westbrook trade
—Davis putting on too much muscle then getting hurt
—THT over Caruso
—Thinking DJ + Ariza could help
—Prioritizing shooting over perimeter D in free agency
—Rigid cap, no trade flexibility at all
I mean… come on
Pelinka was hired as GM in the spring of 2017, where he worked under then-President Magic Johnson. Originally, he was tasked with leading a rebuilding Lakers team back to prominence in the post-Kobe Bryant era.
When LeBron James signed with the team two years later, it changed everything. L.A. became contenders practically overnight and it was on Pelinka to build a team that could compete for a title.
After seeing success in 2020, he went out and signed some notable free agents, but there were concerns from the beginning about how such a roster would fit and play together.
In light of the struggles, it seems Pelinka is falling out of favor with some.