Report: Suns fire head coach Frank Vogel eyeing Mike Budenholzer as replacement after 1st round playoff sweep

The Phoenix Suns are moving on from head coach Frank Vogel.

The Suns fired Vogel on Thursday afternoon after being swept at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the playoffs earlier this spring, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The last two seasons saw Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal finish sixth in the Western Conference and then fail to make the playoffs. Vogel was committed to Phoenix after posting a 49-33 record one season.

Frank Vogel is out as coach of the Phoenix Suns after one season.  (David Berting/Getty Images)

Frank Vogel is out as coach of the Phoenix Suns after one season. (David Berting/Getty Images)

The Suns sacrificed depth in rebuilding their roster around All-NBA guard Devin Booker. They traded key players to the Brooklyn Nets, including Miguel Bridges and Cam Johnson, in addition to four first-round picks to acquire Durant through the 2022-23 season. They signed Chris Paul and Landry Shamet last offseason to acquire Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards.

These deals thinned the Phoenix bench and left the Suns without a true point guard in the rotation. Instead, Booker and Beal — both primarily scoring guards — split time running the Suns’ offense.

The Suns are limited outside of starting center Jusuf Nurkic. That size deficiency was exposed against the big Timberwolves, who have multi-time All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns and Sixth Man of the Year Nas Reed in their front line. The Timberwolves hold a 46.3-32.5 advantage in rebounds per game over the Suns in their four-game series.

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Phoenix’s hope is that a top-heavy roster will lead the Suns to contend for a championship. Rather, it is clearly not built to compete at the top of the Western Conference.

Ditching Vogel won’t solve those roster woes. This gives the Suns a starting point to make changes later in the season.

Vogel is back on the job market after 19 seasons on the NBA sidelines as an assistant or head coach. He spent his last 12 NBA seasons as a head coach, including previous stints with the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers. He coached the Lakers to an NBA Championship in the 2019–20 season.

On the other hand, the Suns will now be looking for their third head coach in as many years.

The Suns wasted no time in starting their coaching search.

Former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer has emerged as “the frontrunner” to replace Vogel in Phoenix, Wojnarowski said Thursday afternoon. The report comes hours after Sons fired the vocalist.

Budenholzer was fired by the Bucks last spring after five seasons with the franchise, two years after he led the team to their second NBA title. This marked his second head coaching stint in the league, following a five-year run with the Atlanta Hawks. Budenholzer spent 17 seasons as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich.

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Although the 54-year-old did not coach in the league last season, he is widely considered a top candidate for the open job this offseason. He’s from northern Arizona, which suits him well with the Suns.

Budenholzer was considered the “frontrunner” for the job as of Thursday afternoon, and it was not yet clear when the Suns would make a decision or who else they were considering for the position.

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