Kenny Atkinson is expected to be interviewed for the role of head coach with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Atkinson is currently an assistant with the Golden State Warriors, who remain immersed in the postseason.

He has been given the go-ahead to talk to the Lakers about their vacancy, according to widespread reports.

The Lakers fired Frank Vogel after missing out on the playoffs and have since been linked with Atkinson's Warriors colleague Mike Brown, former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham and Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin. Former Warriors head coach Mark Jackson is another reputedly under consideration.

Brown has since accepted an offer to become head coach of the Sacramento Kings, ruling him out of the running.

Former Brooklyn Nets head coach Atkinson had a spell in Los Angeles as assistant with the Clippers in the 2020-21 season before taking up his current post with Golden State.

The 54-year-old had a 118-190 record across his four seasons with the Nets, and they reached the postseason only once in that time, losing in the first round to the Philadelphia 76ers.

In a disappointing 2021-22 season, the Lakers finished with a 33-49 record to miss out on the playoffs, two years after landing an NBA championship, despite having the likes of LeBron James and Russell Westbrook on their roster.

It was perhaps not the most surprising news when it emerged on Monday that coach Frank Vogel had been dismissed by the Los Angeles Lakers.   One of the most star-studded teams of all time inexplicably failed to even make the NBA Play-In tournament, finishing the season with a record of 33-49 and in 11th place in the western conference.   However, it would have been astonishing to imagine this scenario in September, when Vogel was handed a one-year extension to his deal, and especially a year prior to that when he was lifting an NBA championship in his first year with the Lakers.   How did we get here, though?

Vogel enjoyed a good start to his career in coaching, making it to the play-offs with the Indiana Pacers in each of his first four years, reaching the conference finals in 2013 and 2014.

After six years in Indiana, he moved to the Orlando Magic, but was unable to repeat the trick there with a young team, with an overall regular season record in his two years in Florida of 54-110, failing to reach the post-season in either campaign before being fired in 2018.

A year later, he was appointed by the Lakers, making a great start as he boasted a regular season record of 52-19, before going on to win their first championship in 10 years.

Vogel's second season was not as smooth, with a 42-30 regular season record. A dramatic Play-In victory against the Golden State Warriors brewed excitement that another dramatic championship run could be on the cards, but a 4-2 defeat to the Phoenix Suns in the first playoff round ended those hopes.

Despite that setback, his post-season win percentage of 66.7 is the third-best in Lakers history, behind only Pat Riley (68.5) and Paul Westhead (68.4).

However, even after having faith shown in him with a one-year contract extension in August 2021, Vogel was unable to add to those figures with a spectacular failure to reach the post-season this year.

The regression in 2020-21 had largely been put down to injury issues suffered by two of his stars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and with those two back fit and after trading to bring Russell Westbrook in from the Washington Wizards, the Lakers went into the 2021-22 season as one of the favourites to go all the way.

 

While Davis and James have suffered further injury setbacks, the latter has still had one of his most productive seasons of an illustrious career, and a failure to get anything like the best out of Westbrook has also been a factor.

James averaged over 30 points per game (30.3) for the first time since 2007-08, with only Joel Embiid averaging more across the league (30.6), though it was the first season since 2009-10 in which Westbrook averaged fewer than 20 points per game (18.5).

The 33-year-old did not hold back when asked about Vogel on Monday, saying at his exit interview: "I think it's unfortunate, to be honest, because I've never had an issue with any of my coaches before.

"I'm not sure what [Vogel's] issue was with me, or I'm not sure why, but I can't really give you an answer to why we really never connected."

The writing was on the wall towards the end of the season, with the Lakers losing eight straight games to miss out on the Play-In tournament, only slightly improving their record with two final wins before the end of the regular season, and ultimately, the end of Vogel's time in LA.

Russell Westbrook feels he was never given a fair shot at delivering the best version of himself throughout a frustrating first season at the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 2017 MVP was acquired from the Washington Wizards during the offseason but struggled for form across the 2021-22 campaign.

Westbrook posted his lowest points-per-game season average for over a decade, as the Lakers missed out on the playoffs.

Speaking in his final media conference of the term, Westbrook hit out at "narratives" about his arrival, and added he felt he was forced to "prove himself" in a superstar side.

"People create narratives of me and who I am and what I do and what I believe in that are just not true," he stated.

"I'm always having to prove myself again and year after year after year, which is to me, just unfair. There's literally no reason to have to do that.

"So when I first got here, I just felt that I never was given a fair chance just to be who I needed to be, to be able to help this team."

Championship-winning coach Frank Vogel was dismissed on Monday, and Westbrook was candid on his relationship with the now-ex Lakers man, admitting he believed they struggled to click.

"I'm not sure what his issue was with me, or I'm not sure why, but I can't really give you an answer why we never really connected," he added.

"Maybe you know, that's something that he has to answer but from the get go I was feeling [I had] to prove myself to him and my capabilities and what I've been able to do for this game.

"It's unfortunate, but it's really not come out of my hands."

Frank Vogel was fired after the Los Angeles Lakers endured "a disappointing season at every level", according to general manager Rob Pelinka. 

The Lakers missed out on a place in the NBA playoffs after a 33-49 season saw them finish 11th in the Western Conference, costing the head coach his job on Monday. 

Vogel led the Lakers to the NBA championship in his first season at the helm, but a poor campaign has seen him removed from the post just 18 months later. 

Speaking after the announcement of Vogel's departure, the Lakers' vice-president of basketball operations and general manager Pelinka said the time had come for a change. 

"I want to thank him for three really strong years," Pelinka said of Vogel. "We just felt like it was time for a change in our leadership voice. Frank is a great man, a great coach and will go on to do great things. 

"This was a disappointing Lakers season at every level. In the face of disappointment, our fans expect more, and that's at every facet.  

"I think when you have disappointment, you need to take ownership of that and vow to make the adjustments to be better. That's where the work starts today.  

"We've been in this place before and we know what it takes to put in the work to fix it, and that's where our energy and time will be spent in the coming days."

In his 19th season in the league, Lakers star LeBron James averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists in 37.2 minutes per game. 

Pelinka acknowledged the roster assembled for this season was not good enough, but felt confident the Lakers can experience success again in the future, with James remaining their lynchpin. 

"We need to do all we can to be caretakers of his legacy and to try to build the best team we can around him," he added. "We had the objective for that last year and obviously this roster did not work.

"But there's a great level of trust in our collaboration with him to make sure we get it right this summer and fix it. 

"I don't know exactly how long LeBron will play but, of course, this year he played at the highest level. [It was] an incredible year for him offensively, and he feels highly motivated to return next year and have another elite level of play. 

"If our team had found a way to win more, he would have been in the MVP conversation. For him to play at that level in the 19th year of his career is jaw-dropping, and his motivation to come back and do that again next year was palpable in my exit interview with him. 

"Every indication we've received is that he sees the Lakers as his home."

LeBron James does not intend to play a significant role in any offseason roster moves the Los Angeles Lakers make. 

The Lakers missed the NBA playoffs after finishing 11th in the Western Conference with a 33-49 record, resulting in head coach Frank Vogel being fired after a frustrating campaign.

James and Anthony Davis were reportedly particularly influential in the decision for Los Angeles to blow up their roster with a trade for Russell Westbrook last year, who endured a disappointing season. 

It seems James will now take a back seat during an impending roster shake up, insisting his focus is solely on leading the team that the Lakers put on the floor. 

"It's human nature to start thinking about the roster and what it could look like and how we could have a roster that brings in more wins," said James, speaking to the media prior to the announcement of Vogel's dismissal.

"I've started to think about it a little bit. It's not solely on me obviously, but we definitely want to be better coming into next year. 

"It's not my decision to sit here and say, 'Well, this is what we should bring back and have on the roster.' That would be the front office's decision. 

"Obviously they may ask for my input, but at the end of the day, they'll make the decision they feel best suits this franchise going forward. 

"I think the front office is gonna do whatever it takes to help this ball club become better. 

"It's my job to make sure I'm ready at the start of training camp, ready to lead the franchise and the team that's put on the floor. That is my focus."

James will turn 38 next season, which will be his 20th in the league, but he remains keen to help the Lakers win another championship, and insisted that only his physical condition would decide how much longer he remains in the NBA.

"I came here to win a championship and I want to win more," he added. "I accomplished what I wanted to, but I'm still hungry for more.

"I'm confident this organisation wants the same. It's what this organisation has always been about. 

"How long [will] I play? It's up to my health. It's up to my spirit, my motivation ... I don't have a cap on how long I want to play, I don't want to say this or that. 

"My wife doesn't wanna hear that if it's longer than a certain amount of years! But I can still produce at a high level as I showed this year, for sure."

The Los Angeles Lakers have fired head coach Frank Vogel after they missed out on the NBA playoffs.

Vogel stated that he had not been told he would lose his job after the Lakers ended a poor season with a 146-141 win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

The 48-year-old was relieved of his duties by the 17-time NBA champions on Monday, though, almost three years after he was appointed.

Vogel guided the Lakers to the NBA title in his first season in charge two years ago, but they were beaten by the Phoenix Suns in the opening round of the playoffs in 2021.

The Lakers endured a 2021-22 season to forget, finishing 11th in the Western Conference with a 33-49 record, and Vogel has paid the price. 

Lakers vice-president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka said: "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Frank both on and off the court. 

"Frank is a great coach and a good man. We will forever be grateful to him for his work in guiding us to the 2019-20 NBA championship. 

"This is an incredibly difficult decision to make, but one we feel is necessary at this point. All of us here wish Frank and his wonderful family all the best for the future." 

The Los Angeles Lakers have fired head coach Frank Vogel after they missed out on the NBA playoffs.

Vogel stated that he had not been told he would lose his job after the Lakers ended a poor season with a 146-141 win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

The 48-year-old was relieved of his duties by the 17-time NBA champions on Monday, though, almost three years after he was appointed.

Vogel guided the Lakers to the NBA title in his first season in charge two years ago, but they were beaten by the Phoenix Suns in the opening round of the playoffs in 2021.

The Lakers endured a 2021-22 season to forget, finishing 11th in the Western Conference with a 33-49 record, and Vogel has paid the price. 

Frank Vogel said he has not been informed that he will be fired by the Los Angeles Lakers after his side ended a miserable season with a victory over the Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers beat the Nuggets 146-141 at Ball Arena on Sunday to finish the campaign with a 33-49 record.

Languishing down in 11th place in the Western Conference, Los Angeles missed out on the playoffs two years after Vogel masterminded an NBA title triumph.

Vogel will reportedly be sacked on Monday, but the 48-year-old says that is news to him.

He said: "I haven't been told s*** and I'm going to enjoy tonight's game, celebrate what these young guys did in terms of scratching and clawing and getting back in this game and getting a W, and we'll deal with tomorrow, tomorrow."

Malik Monk praised the way Vogel has gone about his business after top scoring with 41 points in the win over the Nuggets.

"He kept his cool the whole time," Monk said. "Didn't talk about no problems like that. Didn't talk about anything like that.

"He came in and worked and always gave us a great game plan ... He was always about us. It was never really about him. And I praise him for that.

"I know that was pretty hard on him, but he never talked about it. He never changed his demeanour."

LeBron James' season is over, the Los Angeles Lakers have confirmed.

The NBA great has had the second most productive campaign of his storied career in terms of points per game, though the Lakers have had a year to forget, failing to reach the playoffs or even next week's play-in tournament.

LeBron sprained his ankle in a defeat at the New Orleans Pelicans in late March, and the Lakers confirmed on Friday that he will not play in either of their final two games against the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers' tweeted: "LeBron James' left ankle was recently reassessed by the team's medical staff, and it was determined that due to the ankle sprain James suffered in a game on March 27th, he will miss the remainder of the 2021-22 NBA season to allow for continued healing and an expected full recovery."

 

The 37-year-old ends the campaign having played 56 games overall, averaging 30.3 points per game, only the second time he has averaged over 30 in a season (31.4 PPG for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2005-06). Only Joel Embiid (30.4) averages more in the league this season.

LeBron averaged 8.2 rebounds per game, 6.2 assists and brought three-pointers into his arsenal more than ever, hitting a career-high season average of 2.9 successes and 8.0 attempts per game.

He also became the first player in NBA history to record more than 10,000 career points, rebounds and assists.

The Miami Heat clinched the first seed in the Eastern Conference, as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Boston Celtics 127-121 on Thursday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday each scored 29 points in the win, while the former also added 11 rebounds and five assists. Khris Middleton was close to a triple-double with 22 points on nine-of-18 shooting, along with eight rebounds and nine assists.

On the second night of a back-to-back after their win in Chicago, the Celtics rested Jayson Tatum and Al Horford, and only just lost on the road against a fellow contender in the East.

Marcus Smart shot seven-of-12 from beyond the arc and was the Celtics' leading scorer with a season-high 29 points. Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown came up with a triple-double of 22 points, a career-high 11 assists, along with 10 rebounds.

With the win, however, the Bucks moved past the Celtics into second spot in the East, effectively clinching home court for Miami in the playoffs.

Raps edge past short-handed Sixers

Pascal Siakam put up a triple-double in the Toronto Raptors' 119-114 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Matisse Thybulle missed the game, raising speculation over whether he is vaccinated against coronavirus, with unvaccinated foreign nationals prohibited from entering Canada.

Siakam's consequent ability to get into the paint counteracted his one-of-seven from the perimeter, putting up 37 points on 14-of-28 shooting, along with 12 assists and 11 rebounds.

Warriors win builds pre-playoff confidence

The Golden State Warriors continued to build momentum without the injured Stephen Curry, securing a 128-112 victory at home to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Having already been eliminated from play-in contention, the Lakers were without LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook. Talen Horton-Tucker scored a career-high 40 points on 15-of-28 shooting.

It was the Dubs' third consecutive win and their last game in the Bay Area before the playoffs, heading on the road to San Antonio and New Orleans to close out the regular season.

Russell Westbrook hopes he will get the chance to play an 82-game season alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis next year, but he added: "Nothing is promised."

Westbrook signed for the Los Angeles Lakers at the start of this season in a trade with the Washington Wizards that has since been widely criticised.

The Lakers traded away three key players in exchange for Westbrook and his huge contract, which contains a staggering $47.1million player option for 2022-23.

Having also given up their draft picks for the coming seasons in acquiring Davis, the Lakers may have little option but to run it back with the core of a team who have missed out on the postseason this year.

For all the Lakers' problems – their elimination confirmed by Tuesday's defeat to the Phoenix Suns – Westbrook hopes that will be the case.

He has played only 21 games alongside both James and Davis this season, with each suffering from injury troubles.

"That's the plan, but nothing is promised," Westbrook said. "You've got to take one thing at a time each day and play the cards you're dealt.

"Yes, we want to be able to see what that looks like, what that entails over the course of an 82-game season.

"But we're not sure if that's guaranteed, either. I just hope that we have a chance to be able to do something in the future."

Westbrook described the season as "obviously disappointing on many levels" and said "so many different things" had gone wrong.

However, he added: "It's a situation that I was just blessed to be able to be in.

"I learned a lot about a lot of different things within myself. I was able to just stay real faithful and true to what I believe in, regardless of what was ever thrown our way, my way. We continued to fight through it regardless of results.

"I'm covered. What I mean by that is I am super blessed and grateful. Regardless of whatever is thrown my way, I'm covered by the protection of faith. Whatever is thrown my way, I can always prevail and get through it."

Head coach Frank Vogel added: "I'm extremely disappointed, disappointed for our fan base, disappointed for the Buss family, who gave us all this opportunity.

"We want to play our part in bringing success to Laker basketball, and we fell short.

"We were eliminated tonight, but I can say it's not been due to a lack of effort. We have all put in the work, our guys stayed fighting right until the end, we brought integrity to the process; we just fell short through a disjointed season."

Vogel also pointed to the Lakers' injuries, suggesting they were the main difference between this season and the team's title-winning campaign of 2019-20.

"It's just a different team," he said. "Without getting into a lot of the details why, that was a very different team than we have this year.

"I would say if LeBron and AD played 15 games together that year, we would have had a similar year to what we're having right now."

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will be missing from the NBA playoffs.

Defeat to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday combined with a win elsewhere for the San Antonio Spurs meant the Lakers can no longer reach even the play-in tournament.

It is less than two years since the Lakers won the title in the 'bubble', but that championship was followed by one mishap after another, leading to this painful season.

Stats Perform seeks to break down where it all went wrong.

Ageing LeBron limited

This could and perhaps should have been remembered as a great year for James, who has scored 30.3 points per game. At 37, he is on course to become the oldest player ever to win the scoring title – a mantle he will take from the great Michael Jordan.

However, for a second straight year, injuries have limited James' involvement.

Already with more than 63,000 minutes in his legs across the regular season and playoffs, James has continued to push himself to try to save the Lakers' season. He has played 37.2 minutes per game – his most in five years, the most of any Laker and the third-most in the entire league. Again, he is 37. Ultimately, unsurprisingly, this has meant more wear and tear, with James playing in just 56 games.

Although James has scored more than 35 points in each of his past five games – a streak bettered only by DeMar DeRozan (eight) this season – he has also missed five games in that span. The Lakers have lost all five.

AD also absent again

Given James' age, it was to be expected his body might start to let him down. That he needed to play so many minutes when he was available, though, was due to injury issues for Anthony Davis – eight years his junior.

Davis was outstanding in helping James to win a title in their first season together in 2019-20 but has played only 76 games since across two regular seasons. After an Achilles strain hampered his 2020-21 campaign, Davis has missed time this year with knee and foot injuries. He played on Tuesday but revealed his foot was "a little more sore than normal" and had "swollen up a bit".

Whether Davis can ever get back to playing a full 82-game season remains to be seen, for he has appeared more cumbersome than in years past even when he has been available, having bulked up coming into this year. That is evident in the numbers, too, with Davis shooting a career-high 73.5 per cent at the rim but just 18.6 per cent from three-point range.

Derailed by Russ trade

Of course, even with James and Davis kept on the sideline for periods of the 2020-21 season, the Lakers still made the play-in tournament and then the playoffs. However, the Lakers then allowed almost their entire supporting cast to leave.

Their four most-used players in terms of minutes in 2020-21 departed, including three of them in an ill-fated trade for Russell Westbrook. On his fourth team in four years, there was hope Westbrook could form a 'big three' with James and Davis – "our goal was to win a championship," Davis said on Tuesday – yet the trio have played just 21 games together.

And Westbrook has been far less effective than the men he replaced in carrying the team in the absence of the Lakers' superstar duo. LA are 6-17 when Westbrook plays but James does not.

Having averaged a triple-double in four of his prior five seasons, Westbrook is down to 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists. One of 10 triples this year came in perhaps the worst individual performance of the campaign, in which Westbrook also had a league-high 10 turnovers and was ejected against former team the Oklahoma City Thunder.

What next?

"Who knows?" That was Davis' response after the Suns loss. The Lakers have very little room to manoeuvre in this coming offseason, even if James, Davis and Westbrook can each rediscover form and fitness – highly unlikely in itself.

As part of the deal with the New Orleans Pelicans for Davis, the Lakers traded away an unprotected first-round pick in 2022, a potential first-round pick swap in 2023 and either their 2024 or 2025 first-round pick. The 2022 pick is sure to be a big loss following this season, while the Lakers would have to turn their fortunes around dramatically for the subsequent picks not to also represent significant assets.

And yet the Lakers' cap situation is arguably even worse, headlined by Westbrook's player option for a staggering $47.1million in 2022-23. Only a league-low seven players are signed for next year, yet the team are already above the luxury tax threshold.

It is no secret James and Davis were hugely influential in constructing this roster, but whether the extortionate cost was worth it for a single title is up for debate. Another championship surely will not follow for some time.

Anthony Davis still believes the Los Angeles Lakers could have won the NBA title this season if not for injury.

Defeat to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday combined with a win elsewhere for the San Antonio Spurs meant the Lakers can no longer reach even the play-in tournament.

It is a remarkable fall from grace for a team who were champions less than two years ago, although both Davis and LeBron James have struggled with injuries.

Davis has played only 40 games following knee and foot injuries, while James has been limited to 56 as he has attempted to overcome an ankle sprain.

James was absent as the Lakers' playoff hopes were ended against the Suns, with Davis on the floor but acknowledging his foot was "a little more sore than normal" and had "swollen up a bit".

"We haven't had the chance to have our full team, with myself out, LB out, other guys," Davis said. "It's the most disappointing thing. I'm not sure how good we could have been.

"For myself personally, it's two unfortunate injuries that kept me out for a while, a significant part of the season.

"I was one of the leaders on the team, especially on the defensive end of the floor. When guys needed me most, I wasn't able to be out there.

"For me, for our team, for our organisation, we've got to recap now and see what's next."

Considering what that might mean for next season, Davis said: "Who knows?"

He added: "We've got to recap the season, what worked, what didn't work and go from there. I truly think we could have done something special if Bron and myself, mainly me, were healthy for the entire season.

"I think you would love to see, the world would love to see, we would love to see what this team could be if we were healthy for the full 82."

The Lakers' trade for Russell Westbrook has been widely criticised, with the point guard's return of 18.5 points per game his lowest since 2009-10.

Even when the Lakers had Davis, James and Westbrook all in the lineup, their record was a relatively mediocre 11-10.

However, Davis believes they would have improved with time, explaining: "Our goal was to win a championship. We had the pieces, but injuries got in the way of that. That was the difference in our season.

"Even though we lost games where all of us were on the floor – me, Bron, Russ – I think we're three great players and we would have figured it out if we logged more minutes together.

"We weren't able to do that, which makes it tough to be able to compete for a championship."

However, team-mate Carmelo Anthony, while agreeing with Davis' assessment of the team's potential, refused to point to injuries as an excuse.

"We just didn't get it done," he said. "We had the tools. Some things were out of our control – some things we could control, some things we couldn't.

"It's nothing else more than we didn't get it done. You can't make excuses about it. We just didn't get it done."

The Miami Heat are now just one win away from securing the Eastern Conference's top seed after they smashed the Charlotte Hornets 144-114 on Tuesday.

Having tied their franchise record for three-pointers in a game on three separate occasions this season, the Heat broke that record against the Hornets, connecting on 23 of 42 total attempts.

Tyler Herro contributed eight of those buckets beyond the arc from 14 attempts and in doing so, also tied the single-game franchise record for points off the bench with 35, previously held by Dwyane Wade.

On any other night, it would have been a satisfactory performance from the Hornets, but Heat were automatic, with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo only combining for 49 of the team's points with Kyle Lowry out.

The 49-30 Boston Celtics momentarily remain within touching distance, having played a game less than the 52-28 Heat.

Meanwhile, the Hornets have already wrapped up the Eastern Conference's last play-in spot.

Raptors secure playoffs in East

Pascal Siakam put up 31 points and 13 rebounds as the Toronto Raptors clinched a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, defeating the Atlanta Hawks 118-108.

This victory, coupled with the Cleveland Cavaliers' loss to the Orlando Magic, ensured the Raps will finish no lower than sixth in the East. They also rose to fifth after the Chicago Bulls lost to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Five other Raptors finished on double digit points as Scottie Barnes and Chris Boucher scored 19 and 18 points respectively, Gary Trent Jr. had 14, Fred VanVleet 12 and Precious Achiuwa 11.

Lakers knocked out of West's play-in race

The Los Angeles Lakers have been eliminated from Western Conference play-in calculations, losing 121-110 to the Phoenix Suns, whose 63rd win this season made for a new franchise record.

The desperate Lakers needed a win to stay in touching distance with the New Orleans Pelicans but had a mountain to climb against the Suns, who had won all three games head-to-head this season.

Devin Booker showed characteristic smoothness and composure, putting up 32 points on 12-of-22 shooting as well as four of five three-pointers when his team broke the game open.

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