Lakers, Frank Vogel Part Ways
The Lakers couldn't match the early success in Vogel's first season when they finished 52-19, despite the presence of stars such as LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Screen shot.
After disappointing 33-49 season
LOS ANGELES (CNS)—Just two years removed from their 17th NBA championship, the Lakers today fired head coach Frank Vogel, a move that had been widely expected after a disappointing season that ended without a berth in the playoffs.
Vogel completed his third season with the team on Sunday, with Lakers recording a 146-141 overtime victory over the Denver Nuggets. But the team finished the season with a 33-49 record, good for just fourth place in the
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Frank both on and off the court," Rob Pelinka, Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager, said in a statement.
"Frank is a great coach and a good man. We will forever be grateful to him for his work in guiding us to the 2019-20 NBA championship. This is an incredibly difficult decision to make, but one we feel is necessary at this point.
All of us here with Frank and his wonderful family all the best for the future."
The Lakers also tweeted, "Thank you, coach," accompanied by a picture of Vogel holding the championship trophy.
The 48-year-old Vogel led the Lakers a 52-19 record in the 2019-20 season, his first year with the team, as the league held the playoffs in its "bubble" in Orlando, Florida, to protect players from the surging coronavirus pan-
demic. But the team couldn't match that success in Vogel's subsequent two seasons, despite the presence of stars such as LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Last year the team finished 42-30 and was ousted from the playoffs in the first round—while this season, with James and Davis both battling injuries, the Lakers missed the postseason. Vogel compiled a 127-98 record
during his time with the team.
Injuries played a huge role in the team's troubles this season, as they were able to have their three biggest stars— James, Davis and Russell Westbrook—play only 21 games together. As a result, Vogel was forced to conjure a patchwork of lineups, with continuity always elusive.
Vogel's job had reportedly been in jeopardy for some time, and Sunday ESPN reported the Lakers would make the move as soon as Monday.
Vogel on Sunday reacted testily to that report, saying after the team's season-ending victory, "My reaction is, I haven't been told (s---), and I'm going to enjoy tonight's game and celebrate what these young guys did in terms of scratching and clawing and getting back into this game and getting a W. We'll deal with tomorrow, tomorrow."
Monday, before the team's official announcement of Vogel's dismissal, James was asked about the report, and said, "I respect Frank as a coach and as a man. ... I have nothing but respect for him."
So long Staples; Hello
Crypto.com Arena becomes official
LOS ANGELES (CNS)—After 22 years, the Lakers will play their last game at Staples Center tomorrow night—two days before the venerable downtown venue officially becomes "Crypto.com Arena" on Christmas Day.
The Lakers host the San Antonio Spurs in the 7:30 p.m. game, and plan a number of sendoff festivities for their finale under the "Staples" banner. They include:
A special opening video to be played prior to tip-off; fans in attendance receiving a commemorative ticket, as well as a T-shirt that's a replica of the first T-shirt given away at Staples in June 2000 when the Lakers won the NBA's Western Conference; several Lakers legends appearing for a halftime celebration featuring past NBA champion- ship trophies; a banner marking 22 years of Lakers history at Staples being featured along the top of arena's City View Terrace.
The Lakers are scheduled to host the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day in the first game played at Crypto.com Arena, but that game is in danger of being postponed, as the Nets' roster has been devastated by the corona virus surge. Brooklyn's scheduled Thursday night game in Portland was postponed by the NBA on Wednesday, with the Nets not having the league-minimum of eight players available.
It was the third straight Nets game that was postponed.
The Nets have signed several "hardship replacements," and as of Wednesday the Christmas Day game was still a go. The Lakers' next scheduled home game after that is on New Year's Eve against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Clippers, who also call the arena home, are scheduled to host the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 26.
The NHLs Los Angeles Kings, another tenant of the arena, are scheduled to host the Las Vegas Golden Knights at Crypto.com Arena on Dec. 28. Crypto.com, which bills itself as the fastest-growing crypto currency platform, is beginning a 20-year naming rights agreement with AEG, the arena's owner. A new logo and other branding assets, including internal arena signage, will be introduced on Christmas Day if the game goes off as planned. All of the venue's external signage will be replaced by June.
The agreement, announced Nov. 17, includes official designations across Crypto.com Arena, L.A. LIVE, Microsoft Theater, The Novo, the Lakers, and the Kings. The agreement also makes Crypto.com an official crypto currency platform partner of the Lakers and Kings. Terms of the agreement were not announced, though the Los Angeles Times reported Crypto.com paid more than $700 million for the naming rights, according to sources familiar with the terms. That would make it one of the biggest naming deals in sports history.
Crypto.com claims to have more than 10 million customers. Its headquarters are in Singapore, and it employs more than 2,600 people in offices across the Americas, Europe and Asia. The company was founded in 2016. It recently began a global campaign featuring actor Matt Damon to formally introduce the platform.
Crypto.com also has sponsorships with the UFC, the F1 auto racing circuit, Italian soccer's Serie A, the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, and NHL's Montreal Canadiens.