“Jason Kidd has also agreed to a deal to become a prominent assistant coach on Vogel’s staff, league sources said.” This is a quote Woj used on every show he appeared on, including the story we took the quote from, and it tells you everything you need to know that the Lakers are making the same mistakes again.
If you haven’t found out all the details yet, Frank Vogel got a three-year deal to be the head coach of the LA Lakers, with Jason Kidd as an assistant on his staff. I apologize, a highly prominent assistant.
If you go through NBA.com and look at team coaching staffs, you will find “assistant coach”, “assistant coach/director of player development”, “assistant coach/player development” or some version of such a title. There is a seniority element within coaching staffs, but it mostly depends on what kind of assignments you get as an assistant. If Pop gets ejected, everyone knows Ettore Messina is taking over the game, so having a “lead assistant” isn’t unheard of; most teams have such internal dynamic.
But, a highly prominent assistant is a vanity title, and vanity is at the heart of the Lakers problem. We’ve written about it before, Ramona Shelbourne and Jackie McMullan pointed it out many times – the Lakers care about the brand more than they do about the actual basketball decision making.
That’s why they were the only ones that were shocked when Monty Williams chose Phoenix with all the risk of goat feces over The Brand, and Ty Lue passed on his dream job. Did they have an internal meeting and realize the brand doesn’t mean much if there isn’t clear, responsible leadership behind it? Nope, they talked to other candidates that would accept “a highly prominent assistant” as a part of the deal.
If you were hiring a coach, what would you think about a person that accepted you appointing the lead assistant on the coaching staff? Is that a person that has the gravitas to coach a LeBron Lakers team? He didn’t even start and Frank Vogel has been put in an impossible position.
To make it clear, Vogel probably thought he has nothing to lose. It’s not like he is a highly wanted candidate. Why not take the money and have a go at it? He is also a competent coach who almost got to the NBA Finals with Indiana against the LeBron-Wade-Bosh Miami Heat. He has credentials.
He also has a “highly prominent assistant” that abruptly left Brooklyn after an alarming amount of scheming behind the scenes to take over all decision making in the organization. After that, he coached Milwaukee and after he left they became a top 3 offense and defense in the NBA without major roster changes. To be fair to Kidd, he is credited for player development in Milwaukee, but if you are gearing up for a championship run with LeBron, how many young players do you expect to have on your roster that need developing?
I am looking forward to see how will the media be to blame when Vogel and Kidd clash, there is a public power struggle and repeating the same pattern creates the same outcome.
Long live The Brand.