Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is reportedly hanging on to his job by a thread.
After a 133-96 blowout loss to the Nuggets on Saturday, Vogel “narrowly avoided” being fired by the Lakers, according to The Athletic.
The Lakers bounced back with a 101-95 win over the Jazz on Monday, when Vogel was “coaching for his job” — and he is being “evaluated on a game-to-game basis.”
The 22-22 Lakers are now seventh in the Western Conference, and just half a game from falling to ninth just past the midway point in the season.
Following L.A.’s 37-point loss in Denver, LeBron James delivered on his promise to Laker Nation to play better. But, it is Vogel who has been under the microscope, and the organization is reportedly monitoring whether Vogel still has command of the locker room.
“It’s been what’s commanded of our guys,” said Vogel on Monday, after the Lakers held Utah, the league’s top offensive team, to under 100 points.
“It hasn’t shown up the last couple of games. We’ve all been disappointed. We’ve all been called out and coached hard on it, and it finally came around.”
The Lakers are currently 18th in the league in total defense and 24th in offense right now without Anthony Davis, who suffered an MCL sprain in his left knee in a loss to the Timberwolves last month. He was evaluated Monday, and Vogel told reporters there was still no timeline for his return.
“Everything looked clean on the MRI (exam) and the checkup with doctors, so he’s been cleared for an on-court ramp-up with contact,” Vogel said. “There’s still a reconditioning and ramp-up of work involved.”
Vogel also said that Kendrick Nunn suffered a setback in his rehab for a bone bruise in his right knee that he sustained in preseason.
Nunn, who the coach has said will play an important role in this season’s campaign, has yet to make his debut with the Lakers. The coach added that the Lakers’ small lineup has resulted in defensive setbacks.
Russell Westbrook’s fit has also come into question amid a major shooting slump.
Meanwhile, the Lakers have relied on James to keep them afloat. James, who turned 37 years old last month, has scored at least 25 points in 13 straight games and has averaged 33.5 points on 54.2 percent shooting.
It was just two seasons ago that Vogel led the Lakers to a championship in the 2020 NBA Bubble Season. They were eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs in 2021.
But this season is much different for a much older L.A. squad that’s been riddled with injury in the middle of another pandemic season.
Vogel’s reported extension last September only included one additional season.
The Lakers host the Pacers Wednesday, before a six-game road trip beginning Friday against the Magic, Heat, Nets, Sixers, Hornets and Hawks.