The Los Angeles Lakers formally introduced head coach Frank Vogel during a press conference at UCLA Health Training Center that was largely overshadowed by sharp criticism from former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson hours earlier.
Vogel fielded some questions about his desired direction for the team and interview process, as much of the focus went to general manager Rob Pelinka who was peppered with inquiries about the perception that’s been painted about him.
Further hanging over the Lakers is the expected hire of Jason Kidd as an assistant coach. Kidd was among the candidates interviewed by the team during their coaching search, and seemingly was a factor in talks breaking down with Tyronn Lue.
While there have been conflicting reports on Lue’s openness to the Lakers’ reported insistence that Kidd be part of his staff, Vogel had no such hesitation. “In the interview process they just asked if I would be open to suggestions about who would be on my staff,” Vogel said.
“My answer was I would expect it and I would hope that there would be collaboration. Just like I would hope there’s collaboration for players that we sign or trade for. That I would have a voice and we’re going to work together. I really believe in this method.
“It worked great for us in Indiana with Larry Bird and Kevin Pritchard and continued with both of my bosses, quite frankly, in Orlando. That was sort of how the seed was planted with Jason, about what he could mean to our program.”
Vogel was not familiar with Kidd outside of his accomplishments as a player and tenure in the coaching ranks. The two have since taken time to go through an interview process. “I think he’s done a good job as a head coach. Like I said earlier, this has been the model that’s been best for me in terms of building my coaching staff,” Vogel said.
“Find a respected player with coaching experience that can help strengthen my message. The next step was to, if I’m going to hire anybody to my staff, I want interview them, I want to meet with them, get a comfort level and see if they’re the right fit. I had a great, lengthy interview process with Jason where we talked about every topic you could imagine, and came away feeling like he is going to be an incredible asset to our program.”
Kidd’s personal history includes pleading guilty to domestic abuse in 2007. The subject was broached during his conversation with Vogel, who is confident the former point guard has learned from it.
“I believe he’s in a very different place than back then and it’s going to be positive for us here,” Vogel said.