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

The Suns will now be looking for a third head coach in the past three seasons after moving on from Frank Vogel

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

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

The ouster culminated a disappointing season that saw a Suns roster that added Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal in the last two seasons finish sixth in the Western Conference before failing to secure a playoff victory. Vogel is done in Phoenix after a single season produced a 49-33 record.

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

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

The deals depleted 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 also lack size up front outside of starting center Jusuf Nurkić. That lack of size was exposed against the bigger Timberwolves, who feature multi-time All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns and Sixth Man of the Year Naz Reid on their front line. The Timberwolves secured a 46.3-32.5 advantage in rebounds per game over the Suns in their four-game series.

The hope in Phoenix was that the top-heavy roster would lead to the Suns competing for a championship. Instead, it's become clear that it's not built to compete at the top of the Western Conference as constructed.

Dismissing Vogel won't solve those roster woes. It does give the Suns a starting point to make adjustments in the offseason.

Vogel is back on the job market after 19 seasons on NBA sidelines as an assistant or head coach. He's 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.

The Suns, on the other hand, will now look for a third head coach in as many years.

The Suns apparently wasted no time getting their coaching search started.

Former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer has emerged as the "frontrunner" to replace Vogel in Phoenix, Wojnarowski reported on Thursday afternoon. The report came just hours after the Suns fired Vogel.

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

Though the 54-year-old didn't coach this past season in the league, he's widely been considered a top candidate for an open job this offseason. He's from northern Arizona, too, which only adds to the fit for him with the Suns.

Budenholzer is just being considered a "frontrunner" for the job as of Thursday afternoon, and it's still unclear when the Suns will make a decision or who else they are considering for the position.