NBA rumors: Frank Vogel's job could be in jeopardy after late-season slide

Regardless of 2023-24 being his first season at the helm, head coach Frank Vogel's job is reportedly in jeopardy if the Phoenix Suns cannot overcome their late-season slide.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns
Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

Many NBA franchises consider a near 50-win regular season pace a successful year. But the Phoenix Suns are not one of those teams, especially considering how much they have invested in their current roster construction.

Less than two months after Suns owner Mat Ishbia bought the team, he pushed his chips all-in, mortgaging Phoenix's future to acquire superstar wing Kevin Durant in a blockbuster deal that sent Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, four unprotected first-round selections (2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029) and a 2028 first-round pick swap to the Brooklyn Nets.

Making a move of that magnitude and not only parting ways with valuable draft capital but two vital pieces of a Suns team that reached the NBA Finals in 2020-21 means immediate results are demanded, especially in the middle of the season, which is why Phoenix dismissed head coach Monty Williams at the end of last year.

But Williams' replacement, Frank Vogel, hasn't fared much better in his first season at the helm despite the Suns having a 46-33 record and could suffer the same fate as his predecessor if Phoenix falls short in the playoffs (or fails to reach the postseason outright) if recent reporting by Evan Sidery of Forbes Sports is any indication.

NBA Rumors: Frank Vogel could be on the hot seat if Suns' late-season slide continues

"There is a growing buzz around Frank Vogel's job security as the Suns' head coach," Sidery says. "If Phoenix is unable to make it out of the first round, Vogel could lose his job after just one season," he adds.

Sidery cites the Suns' post-All-Star break struggles, highlighting how the star trio of Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal (whom Phoenix gave up whatever draft capital they had left this offseason to acquire following the trade with Brooklyn) has posted a -4.4 net rating per 100 possessions when all three players are on the court over the past 24 games, a far cry from the expectations the team had when they formed this dynamic threesome.

Based on the discourse surrounding the Suns this season, you would think the sky is falling, even though they find themselves 13 games above .500 with three regular-season games remaining. But considering they are in seventh place in the Western Conference and currently relegated to play-in status, with the potential to fall out of the playoff picture entirely, this can be viewed as a down year for a team that has championship aspirations and two of the top 10-15 players in the world on their roster.

The NBA is a results-driven business. But when the team owner is on a different timeline like Ishbia, there can be a massive fallout, explaining why Vogel could ultimately be shown the door after his lone campaign in Phoenix.

Albeit uncommon, we have seen numerous NBA head coaches relieved of their duty after one year of service. The Suns fired Igor Kokoskov after he guided them to a 19-63 record in his lone season with Phoenix in 2018-19. More recently, the New Orleans Pelicans parted ways with longtime coach Stan Van Gundy following a disappointing 31-41 effort in 2020-21, and the Indiana Pacers dismissed Nate Bjorkgren after the team snapped a five-year playoff streak under his watch in the same campaign.