Suns fire coach Frank Vogel after being swept in first round

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The Phoenix Suns fired head coach Frank Vogel on Thursday, 11 days after the team was swept out of the postseason’s first round by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Former Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer is the Suns’ target to replace Vogel and talks are expected to move quickly, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Budenholzer has been working to assemble a coaching staff for a return to a head coaching job and that process is also gathering momentum, sources said.

“As we said at the press conference on May 1, team leadership including myself, Josh Bartelstein, and ownership would be looking across basketball operations to determine what changes needed to be made,” Suns general manager James Jones said in a statement. “After a thoughtful review of the season, we concluded that we needed a different head coach for our team. We appreciate Frank’s hard work and commitment.”

The Suns underperformed in Vogel’s lone season at the helm, especially given the caliber of talent in stars Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal. The latter two were acquisitions after owner Mat Ishbia took over the team in February 2023.

Vogel, who went 49-33 in Phoenix, was signed to a five-year, $31 million deal in June 2023. He succeeded Monty Williams, who was fired after the team’s Western Conference semifinals loss to the Denver Nuggets. Following the 122-116 loss in Game 4 to the Timberwolves on April 28, the Suns have now lost six straight playoff games — the longest playoff losing streak in franchise history.

Prior to being swept, Vogel said he was “very” confident that he would return next season and that he had the “full support” of Ishbia.

This was Vogel’s fourth time as a head coach, after stops with the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers. He has a career mark of 479-422.

Before winning a title in L.A., Vogel led the Pacers to the Eastern Conference semifinals twice. Vogel had the NBA’s top-rated defense three times in his career — twice with Indiana and once with the Lakers, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Suns enter the offseason with $209 million in salary, the biggest payroll of any NBA team, and face a projected luxury tax penalty of $116 million.

The Suns also will be above the so-called second apron of the luxury tax for at least the next three years if they keep their core together. That position would lead to punitive consequences, limiting their ability to add to their roster.

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