Suns Fire Coach Frank Vogel After First-Round Sweep

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Phoenix Suns Fire Coach Frank Vogel After First-Round Sweep

The Phoenix Suns fired head coach Frank Vogel on Thursday over a week after the team was swept by the Minnesota Timberwolves in their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer is the Suns’ No. 1 target to replace Vogel, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Budenholzer is currently assembling a coaching staff for a return to a head coaching job.

“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,” 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.”

Furthermore, the Suns underperformed in Vogel’s only season at the helm, finishing 49-33 and sixth in the Western Conference standings. He signed a five-year, $31 million deal with the franchise in June 2023.

Vogel replaced Monty Williams, who was fired after the team’s Western Conference semifinals loss to the Denver Nuggets. Factoring in the Suns’ Game 4 loss to the Timberwolves on April 28, the Suns have lost six straight playoff games — the longest playoff losing streak in franchise history.

Phoenix Suns fired coach Frank Vogel, who is 480-422 in the regular season and 49-33 in the playoffs in his coaching career

Frank Vogel had the NBA’s top-rated defense three times in his career — twice with the Indiana Pacers and once with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Suns were Vogel’s fourth team as a head coach. He previously coached the Pacers (2010-16), Orlando Magic (2016-18), and Lakers (2019-22). His career coaching record is 480-422 in the regular season and 49-43 in the playoffs.

More importantly, the Suns underachieved under Vogel with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal. The latter two were acquisitions after owner Mat Ishbia was introduced as majority owner in February 2023.

The Phoenix Suns traded four first-round picks (2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029), a 2028 first-round pick swap, and additional draft compensation to acquire Durant. They are also without a second-round pick from 2024 through 2030.

The Big Three will earn a combined $150 million in the 2024-25 season, according to Spotrac. Durant is slated to make $49.85 million in 2024-25, and Booker will earn $49.35 million next season.

Additionally, Beal will make $50.2 million next season as well. The three-time All-Star has a no-trade clause and is still owed $160 million. The salary of the three players is more than 14 teams’ total payroll in 2024-25.

Phoenix is set to enter the offseason with $209 million in salary, the largest payroll of any NBA team. In fact, the club faces a luxury tax penalty of $116 million.

The Suns could be a second-apron team for at least the next three years. This means Phoenix is now forced to rely heavily on minimum contracts to fill out the roster.