05/20 16:26 CDT Vogel introduction caught up in ongoing Lakers drama
Vogel introduction caught up in ongoing Lakers drama
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) --- Frank Vogel's goal to build "organizational
togetherness" within the Los Angeles Lakers met the reality of the team's
current dysfunction Monday.
Vogel's introduction as the Lakers' latest coach was almost overshadowed by
comments made earlier by Magic Johnson. The former Lakers great appeared on
ESPN's "First Take" and said general manager Rob Pelinka was largely
responsible for his resignation as president of basketball operations and that
Pelinka was talking behind his back, putting the GM in the position of using
the Vogel news conference to respond.
Pelinka said he has talked to Johnson several times since his resignation on
April 9 and said Johnson's comments surprised him. Pelinka said the last time
the two had talked was over the weekend.
"It's saddening and disheartening to think he believes things are a
misperception," Pelinka said. "I think all of us in life probably have been
through things where maybe there's third party whispers or 'he said, she said'
things that aren't true."
Vogel, who replaced Luke Walton, said the news conference took on a different
tone than he imagined at the start of the day.
"It was definitely different than I expected and different than I've ever been
a part of," he said. "But I understand the line of questioning in light of the
events of this morning. So you just roll with the punches."
LeBron James watched the news conference from the back of the gym at the team's
facility, but did not shake hands with Vogel and declined interview requests.
He shot baskets on another court while Vogel did one-on-one interviews with
Vogel takes over a team that has been in turmoil on and off the court. The
Lakers have missed the playoffs for six straight seasons, a drought that was
expected to end in James' first season. But injuries to James, Lonzo Ball and
Brandon Ingram, as well as the internal discord, resulted in a 37-45 record.
Vogel will be the Lakers' sixth coach since Phil Jackson stepped down after the
The 45-year old Vogel worked for the organization before as an advance scout
during the 2005-06 season. He did not coach last season following two years
with the Orlando Magic. Vogel went to Orlando following five-plus seasons
leading the Indiana Pacers, including trips to the Eastern Conference finals in
2013 and '14. He has a career record of 304-291.
Vogel confirmed Jason Kidd will join his staff as an assistant and said it was
something Pelinka brought up during the job interview.
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