Given the struggle this season has been for the Lakers, it was only a matter of time before Frank Vogel’s job security would come up. While Vogel has made some questionable choices, he is hardly at the top of the ones responsible for the situation the Purple and Gold are in. While others danced around the issue, Kendrick Perkins held nothing back and called LeBron James and Anthony Davis to step up.
The most noticeable thing about the Lakers’ comeback against the Jazz the other night was Russell Westbrook’s absence. Well, Stanley Johnson’s great performance was most noticeable, but Westbrook not being there was right behind it. In the end, Vogel put Westbrook in for the last few minutes, and it almost cost them the game.
After that game, reports came out that Vogel’s job status was under review and that losing that game to the Jazz would’ve sealed his fate. So with nothing to lose, last night, Vogel did what everyone under the sun knows was the right basketball decision - he benched Westbrook in the fourth quarter against Indiana. When asked about the decision, Vogel just said he was “playing the guys I thought would win the game.”
The Lakers didn’t win the game, but it was still the right basketball decision. All this talk of Vogel being the one whose job is on the line fired up Kendrick Perkins, who thinks Vogel would just be the scapegoat for other people’s mistakes. “It’s not Frank Vogel’s fault that Russell Westbrook is not getting over screens. It’s not Vogel’s fault that when Melo is on the floor, he’s giving up 30 points on the defensive end, cause he can’t guard a parked car. “
“I want to see LeBron James and Anthony Davis come out and stand up for their guy because it's not Frank Vogel's fault the Lakers are in the position they're in.”
Kendrick Perkins, ESPN
The GM won’t fire himself and for sure won’t trade the star players - that only leaves one option that buys a bit more narrative time. Coaches are always the first to go, and they know it. It comes with the job. But I support Perk in calling a spade a spade. This is a LeBron/Klutch mess, and they should own up to it.
The house that Klutch built
It’s no secret LeBron led the Lakers offseason, and it’s not just about bringing Westbrook in. LeBron bragged about having Westbrook over for a glass of wine in the off-season, and that was the moment they concluded he should join the Lakers. But it’s more than that.
Let me put it like this. Only one of Talen Horton Tucker and Alex Caruso is a Klutch client. I’ll let you guess which one. Not only did they keep the Klutch guy this summer - the Lakers could’ve had Kyle Lowry last season, but they didn’t want to include Horton-Tucker in the deal.
For better or worse, they are now the house that Klutch built. We all know that’s the case, so let’s not pretend Frank Vogel or Rob Pelinka are the first people to look at when things go south. They wanted the power; now it’s time to own up to it. LeBron and AD should support Vogel and make it clear this is on them to figure out on the court.
(I know, that’s not happening.)