L.A. Lakers hire Frank Vogel as head coach with Jason Kidd on staff

Sources: Vogel to coach Lakers with Kidd on staff

Adrian Wojnarowski | ESPN

Former Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel has agreed to a three-year deal to become the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told ESPN, with Jason Kidd agreeing to join Vogel’s staff in a prominent assistant-coaching role.

Vogel’s hiring speaks to the significant influence of Lakers adviser Kurt Rambis and former coach Phil Jackson, whose opinions weigh heavily with owner Jeanie Buss. Vogel was the runner-up to Jeff Hornacek when Jackson hired a New York Knicks replacement for Derek Fisher in the summer of 2016.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka had spent the past few days gathering information from those who have worked with both Vogel and Kidd about how they believe those two could complement each other on a Lakers coaching staff, league sources said.

Under Vogel, the Lakers are unlikely to distinguish between a top assistant and the rest of the coaches. One Lakers source described it as “the Phil Jackson model” of assembling a staff.

Vogel, 45, flew to Los Angeles on Thursday and met with Pelinka and his front office and had detailed discussions on how Vogel would approach the possibility of taking over what has become a volatile situation.

‘He can’t coach LeBron’ – Stephen Jackson on Frank Vogel possibly getting Lakers job:

The Lakers have been under tremendous pressure to partner LeBron James with a suitable replacement to Luke Walton and to start to quell the turmoil that’s surrounding the organization.

Vogel knows James very well, with James having gone 30-15 against Vogel in his career, his third-most wins against a single head coach, including playoffs. Vogel has also been eliminated three times by a James-led team in the playoffs, tied for the most by any head coach.

The only head coach to face a James-led team more often in the playoffs than Vogel is Golden State’s Steve Kerr.

As much as Vogel has to be judged on a difficult two-season tenure with the Magic (2016-18) during which he won 29 and 25 games with a rebuilding team, he did build a strong reputation in his five full seasons with the Pacers, who advanced to the Eastern Conference finals during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

Vogel went 250-181 while leading the Pacers, the second-most wins and second-highest win percentage (.580) by a head coach in franchise history

ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, Ramona Shelburne and ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.

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KD, Magic, Lebron, D-Wade, & NBA Twitter blows up over Warriors’ elimination of Rockets from semis

Kevin Durant reacts to Warriors’ 118-113 Game 6 win over the Rockets

Ali Thanawalla | NBC SPORTS

The Warriors, without Kevin Durant, went into Houston on Friday night and beat the Rockets to close out their second-round NBA playoffs series.

And no one was happier than KD himself, who stayed back in the Bay Area to get treatment on his strained right calf.

After the Warriors won 118-113 in Game 6, Durant posted a photo of himself celebrating on Instagram.

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Way to close out #dubnation 📸: @jedjacobsohn

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Durant will be re-evaluated next week, and it’s not clear if he’ll be ready for the start of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday.

“We still need KD back,” Draymond Green said as he walked back to the locker room after the win. “But we can get him back now.”

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Magic Johnson heaps praise on Warriors after Game 6 win over Rockets

Marcus White | NBC SPORTS

Magic Johnson quit his job for nights like Friday. Well, at least in part.

When he resigned as the Los Angeles Lakers’ president of basketball operations a month ago, Johnson told reporters that he felt constrained by NBA tampering regulations that — among other things — didn’t allow him to tweet.

“The fines and the tampering and the this and the that, I can’t help young men who want me to help them, or I can’t tweet out,” Johnson told reporters in LA last month. “Like Russell Westbrook, that [20-20-20 triple double] was a great feat the other day. I couldn’t even tweet it out to say, ‘Hey, congratulations.’ If I had did that, everyone would have said, ‘He’s tampering.’

“I don’t like that. I like to be free.”

Johnson was free Friday night, and he praised Stephen Curry’s dominant second half in the Warriors’ 118-113 winover the Houston Rockets. Curry scored 33 second-half points to eliminate the Rockets in Game 6 of the NBA playoff second-round series, but Johnson was impressed with Curry’s teammates, too.

Good, if obvious, points all around from one of the greatest players in NBA history. But Johnson, for his part, seems much happier tweeting than he did dealing with the Lakers’ dysfunction — some of which certainly is owed to the legendary point guard himself.

The Basketball Hall of Famer will have at least four more chances to tweet about the Warriors to his heart’s content this postseason. Thanks to Friday’s win, Golden State is headed to its fifth consecutive appearance in the Western Conference finals.

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Twitter reacts to Warriors’ stunning Game 6 win to eliminate Rockets

Jon Williams | NBC SPORTS

The “underdog” Warriors dug deep and eliminated the Rockets in Game 6 of their second-round NBA playoff matchup. They’ll advance to their fifth-straight Western Conference finals, joining the Lakers from the 1980s as the only teams to do so.

Steph Curry scored 33 points — all in the second half — to lead the Kevin Durant-less Warriors past Houston. 

Twitter predictably exploded about the outcome, both praising the Warriors and trolling the Rockets.

NBA stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both praised the championship spirit of the Warriors and Curry.

FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd couldn’t believe the Warriors’ reserves kept the game close while Steph was struggling.

ESPN’s Michael Wilbon couldn’t believe he ever doubted the three-time champs.

Klay Thompson hit the biggest shot of the game — a 3-point dagger with less than a minute left — to extend the Warriors’ lead to six. The Athletic’s Anthony Slater noted Klay, who’s a free agent this summer, will assuredly cash in.

With the win in Houston, the Dubs extended their NBA-record streak to 21 consecutive playoff series with at least one road victory.

Emilia Clarke, the actress who plays Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, was in attendance. Craig Malamut, the co-creator of Bleacher Repot’s GOT spinoff “Game of Zones,” weighed in on Steph’s performance with a GOT twist.

Conversely, FOX Sports’ Nick Wright notes that the Warriors winning could have one potential negative side effect.

As for the Rockets, oh boy. The takes were flying. The Rockets have long been “obsessed” about beating the Warriors and Rockets center Clint Capela has openly said he wanted to play Golden State.

FOX Sports’ Skip Bayless couldn’t believe Houston blew it again.

And is it really a collapse if there isn’t a reference to the Jordan crying meme?

Enjoy this one, Warriors fans. That one was pretty sweet.

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NBA rumors: Kyrie Irving-Ty Lue relationship reason Lakers ended talks

Josh Schrock | NBC SPORTS

First things first: The Los Angeles Lakers are currently an unmitigated disaster.

Expected to try and challenge the Warriors in the Western Conference after landing LeBron James, the Purple and Gold bottomed out in the second half of the season, causing James to miss the playoffs for the first time since his second season in the NBA. Then, Magic Johnson abruptly quit as president of basketball operations. Head coach Luke Walton and the team agreed to part ways, allowing Walton to land the head coaching job with the Kings. 

The Warriors, all the while, continue their march to a third-straight NBA title. Things got tougher Wednesday, though, as the Dubs will be without Kevin Durant for the remainder of their second-round NBA playoff series with the Rockets after the two-time NBA Finals MVP suffered a right calf strain in Game 5.

Things are still much better in the Bay than L.A., obviously.

The Lakers appeared to have their next head coach all but locked up, but negotiations with former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue fell through reportedly due to contract demands and the Lakers’ desire for him to have Jason Kidd as an assistant coach on his staff.

But, what if there is another reason talks between Lue and the Lakers fell apart?

On the latest episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” the Ringer CEO mentioned a rumor that he’s heard since Lue and the Lakers agreed to go their separate ways.

“The rumor mill is fantastic,” Simmons said during a conversation with longtime Celtics radio play-by-play announcer Sean Grande. “I don’t mind passing along various things I’ve heard, including, somebody told me that Ty Lue — the Lakers had to back out of the Ty Lue thing because Ty Lue and Kyrie, they couldn’t be together again and Kyrie’s going to go there and that’s why that fell through. Not because of the contract. I have no idea if that’s true or not but that’s going to be the next two months of my life.”

First of all, it should be noted that Simmons admits he doesn’t know if it’s true, but that’s the very definition of a rumor,

Now, whispers of Irving potentially joining the Lakers began after Irving told reporters he called James to apologize for the way he acted upon his exit from the Cavs. Those rumors have grown louder over the last few months.

With Irving and the Celtics being bounced from the second round of the playoffs by the Bucks on Wednesday, the speculation about his future will only intensify from here on out.

Irving, who is best friends with Durant, has been rumored to be a target of the Knicks as New York dreams of pairing the two stars together this offseason. But the Lakers could throw a huge wrench in the Knicks’ plans by swiping Irving once free agency begins.

It does seem highly unlikely that the Lakers are going about their head coaching search based on the thought that Irving wants to reunite with James. But we all know teams don’t wait until the season is over to start contacting potential free agents (even if they are supposed to), and with Irving and James’ relationship healed, perhaps it truly is a done deal. 

If Irving does choose to sign with the Lakers, that could impact the decision of Durant who many believe desires to play with his good friend next season. With no other superstar to pair up with in New York, would Durant leave the Dubs to play with Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and potentially Zion Williamson? Seem unlikely.

Irving heading to Tinseltown could both make the Lakers more of a threat to the Warriors but also could allow the Dubs to convince Durant to stay. Real double-edged sword. 

Of course, the Lakers landing a star free agent is far from a guarantee. The legendary franchise has been run more like a carnival of late, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Lakers whiff in free agency and be left searching for a way to compete in the final years of James’ prime.

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Kevin Durant is out and now all of the pressure is on James Harden and the Rockets

Andy Nesbitt | USA TODAY SPORTS

Kevin Durant’s MRI results are in and he’s going to miss the rest of the Warriors-Rockets series with a mild right calf strain, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

This is relatively good news as the entire NBA world held its collective breath while fearing the worst when the injury happened late in the third quarter of Game 5. Just about everyone assumed it was an Achilles injury and that the NBA world had just been flipped upside down.

Now Durant could reportedly return at some point during the Western Conference Finals… if the Warriors, who are up 3-2 in the series, can get there.

While this injury means a lot to the Warriors and their future, it also means that all of the pressure now rests on the shoulders of James Harden, who disappeared in the fourth quarter of Game 5, Chris Paul and the rest of the Houston Rockets.

Because now they have no excuses. They have to get this done or it will be another glaring failure that will sting for quite some time, much like last year’s Game 7 against the Warriors when Houston missed 27 3-pointers in a row.

Game 6 is Friday night in Houston, a place where the Warriors just dropped two straight. A place that will be buzzing when Harden and Co. look to save their season. There’s every reason to believe that the Rockets will force a Game 7 which would be played on Sunday night.

But imagine if they don’t? Imagine if Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green go into Houston and show the heart that led this squad to a big win after Durant went down.

That would be more embarrassing for the Rockets than any Harden or Paul flop that we’ve ever seen.

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