Surprising name emerges to replace Frank Vogel in Phoenix

Frank Vogel has been fired by the Phoenix Suns, and already a surprising name has emerged to potentially replace him in The Valley.
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns - Game Three
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns - Game Three / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

In a swift move that was cruel - although not altogether surprising - the Phoenix Suns announced on Thursday that they had parted company with head coach Frank Vogel. A tough way for the former title winning coach to depart, having only had one season in tough circumstances to try and win.

Big names around the league were quick to jump in and defend Vogel, with the Suns now facing into the reality of trying to find a new head coach to take on an unenviable job this offseason. The roster is top-heavy, there is little depth and the horrible cap sheet this organization has means getting better will also be extremely difficult.

Yet there is one name that has come out of left-field and surprised many, and they could yet end up getting the job.

That's because according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports, current Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups is a name to keep an eye on as the Suns' search begins in earnest. The reason for this? Billups apparently has the support of the Suns players who would have some sort of say in this process.

Although those players are named, this does not sound like a good idea on the surface for a number of reasons. The first is that Billups is currently learning the ropes in Portland, in what is his first head coaching job. He hasn't done a bad job by any stretch, but that is a rebuilding organization and Billups will be given time to put his own mark on the team.

This is what the Orlando Magic did in hiring Jamahl Mosley back in 2021, and it has taken three years and some draft luck for that to pay off. The Suns need to win it all next season, we have seen that failure to do anything else is likely going to mean getting fired in much the same way coach Vogel just was.

Another reason this is not a good idea is because Devin Booker had a great relationship with lead assistant Kevin Young that was known throughout the league. Young was a finalist to get the job that ultimately went to Vogel, and he also interviewed for the head coach's position with the Brooklyn Nets not too long ago.

Yet despite probably having an idea Vogel would be fired if the Suns underperformed, he still decided to jump ship to the college game and BYU, despite having never coached at that level before. Does it not speak volumes that somebody who Booker was tight with - and who likely knew his time was going to come in the pro game soon - would rather go to college than stick around?

Young would have inherited a mess, and Billups would be doing the exact same thing. This all sounds eerily similar to when Kevin Durant went to the Nets before, and brought Kyrie Irving and later James Harden along with him. The Nets hired Steve Nash - a first time head coach - with an endorsement from Durant. When the wheels began to come off, Durant reportedly then asked that Nash be fired.

3 times Frank Vogel tried to tell Suns' fans something was wrong this season. dark. Next. 3 times Frank Vogel tried to tell Suns' fans something was wrong this season

Nash was fired, Durant left anyway and now the Nets' best player is former Sun Mikal Bridges. Harden is in Los Angeles and Irving ironically is doing better than anybody else from that failed experiment, helping the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs currently. All of which is to say, there is previous experience that allowing the star players to pick the head coach does not work out.

The time for the organization to nail this pick was last summer, and in getting Vogel many felt they had done well. It is not his fault he had to make do with what he was given, and it is hard to see how coach Billups would be able to do any better. Then again, he may be the only person that wants the job given how Vogel was ultimately treated in The Valley. We haven't heard the last of this one.