The Suns officially introduced Frank Vogel as the team’s new coach this week, replacing Monty Williams and adding a former NBA champion to a team ready to win now. Phoenix enters its first offseason with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker together, looking to make a return to the NBA Finals next year as one of the favorites.
Vogel spoke with Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix about his new job, and the veteran coach understands the weight of the situation, but he is confident the roster should work well together.
“Obviously we're going to go all in on trying to get the job done this year,” Vogel told Mannix. “I actually love the fit of the current roster with Devin and Kevin being just the elite scorers on the wing, but the bookends of Deandre [Ayton] and Chris Paul, a Hall of Fame point guard, and a really, really talented center that could be an All-Star level center for us, I think those pieces really fit.”
Vogel made sure to mention Paul, which is notable because Phoenix reportedly decided to waive the point guard this week. However, Vogel called that a “misunderstanding,” saying the team is still talking with him about his role.
“We did not waive Chris,” Vogel said. “But there's ongoing conversations about all of the options to improve the roster, which include trades, a waiving of certain players, and retaining the guys that we have back. Those are just ongoing conversations.”
Vogel explained that he would still like Paul to be on the team even though he is due over $30 million next year. Paul has played the last three years with Phoenix, but only featured in 59 games in 2022–23 with a career-low 13.9 points to go along with 8.9 assists per game.
“I feel like there’s a bigger picture to him having an opportunity with this group to take another last run to get that championship for him,” Vogel said. “And he’s done so much for this team the last few years, so I’m really hopeful to have an opportunity to work with him this next year. And I think he can really help us get over the top.”
This job will be Vogel’s fourth head coaching opportunity. He did lead the Lakers to a title in 2019–20, his first year on the job. He will try to do the same thing in Phoenix next year, perhaps with Paul still running the point.