Frank Vogel is not going to survive as Suns' head coach much longer

The Phoenix Suns have been swept from the NBA Playoffs, and it looks like head coach Frank Vogel doesn't have much time left in the job.
Phoenix Suns v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game One
Phoenix Suns v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game One / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns were finally put out of their misery over the weekend, as they exited the playoffs at the first hurdle. In being swept by the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Suns also became the first team to officially be eliminated from the postseason.

On the one hand, the Timberwolves demonstrated exactly why they had the best defensive rating in the league during the regular season, as they made the Suns work hard for every single bucket they did manage to score. Then again, a roster with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal failing to win once against an opponent they beat three straight times in the regular season is shocking.

Which is why current head coach Frank Vogel is likely going to be out of the job sooner rather than later.

There's many reasons for this - and starting with the most obvious - there has to be a fall guy when a team doesn't hit the heights that they're supposed to. Unfortunately for Vogel, he has been in this position before with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Even though he led them to a championship in the NBA's bubble, he was the person who was forced to go when they failed to live up to expectations the following season. This despite the Lakers' front office letting valuable contributors like Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope depart, with Russell Westbrook joining the roster instead.

When you look at this current Suns team, the front office isn't going to trade Booker, and Beal has a no-trade clause. Owner Mat Ishbia moved heaven and earth to get Kevin Durant, so he's not going anywhere either. So if none of their "Big 3" are going to be moved on as part of big changes after a disappointing season, then that means coach Vogel will.

Another reason this is likely to happen is because the defensive-minded roster that was promised under coach Vogel never happened either. They finished 13th in defensive rating 113.7 during the regular season and although that is not terrible, it simply needed to be better if the Suns wanted to be true contenders.

Vogel can rightly point to the fact he had to try and cobble together a rotation with the likes of Bol Bol and Nassir Little, but that's what he was being paid to do. He was supposed to be the veteran coach who took this team over the top, but at no point this season did that ever look like happening.

Which has also created a longer-term problem for the franchise, because lead assistant Kevin Young recently accepted the BYU role. Young was a finalist both for the Suns' top job that Vogel got last summer, and more recently the Brooklyn Nets' head coaching role. It felt like his time was coming soon to lead his own team, and he has a great relationship with Booker.

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Only Young either got fed up waiting or wanted a new challenge, but either way the Suns' ideal backup option has now departed. Which means owner Ishbia is now surely going to go out and make a splash by getting the kind of head coach that the fanbase will immediately get behind. Maybe Mike Budenholzer, who led the Milwaukee Bucks to a championship over the Suns in 2021.

Either way, there's no way Frank Vogel survives being swept by the up-and-coming Timberwolves. Escaping the play-in tournament bought him some time, but the vibes on this group have been bad all season, and their play has reflected that. It's not that they tuned Vogel out, they may never been listening to begin with.