Three Replacements for Frank Vogel as Phoenix Suns Head Coach

If the Suns move on from Vogel after one season at the helm, who could they turn to?
Frank Vogel
Frank Vogel / Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday night, the Phoenix Suns were swept out of the 2024 NBA playoffs by the Minnesota Timberwolves, and a big change may be coming.

Mere hours after Phoenix lost, 122-116, in Game 4 to complete the sweep Shams Charania reported for The Athletic that the Suns will be taking a "hard look at making a full coaching change." The insider documented several instances in which Vogel's voice didn't hold much sway in a locker room featuring Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. Charania's sources also noted that Durant was not happy with his role in Vogel's offense, and cameras caught Beal snubbing his head coach in the third quarter of Sunday's defeat.

Vogel sounded confident in his job security when asked by reporters ahead of Game 4. But insider reports suggest his job is in jeopardy after only one season. Vogel guided Phoenix to a 49-33 record and the No. 6 seed in a fierce Western Conference. But given what owner Mat Ishbia is paying, a first round exit may not be good enough. The franchise ranked third in payroll this past season, shelling out $187 million over the course of the year without accounting for luxury tax penalties.

There will be much debate in the coming weeks regarding whether or not the Suns should move on from Vogel. If they do, here are three possible replacements for Phoenix to go after.

JJ Redick

After interviewing for the open Charlotte Hornets job, Redick must now be taken seriously as a potential head coaching candidate. He has no experience on the sideline but one can understand the appeal of Redick. He played in the NBA for nearly 15 years, so he could be a good players' coach, and Redick spends a quite a bit of his free time breaking down high-level basketball concepts on his two podcasts.

This is the sort of splashy hire one might expect from Ishbia, who bought the Suns a year ago and immediately started spending big money. However, the Suns need to win, and they need to win right now. Tasking Redick to learn how to be a coach in the NBA while also winning a lot of games and making deep postseason runs may be too much to ask.

Mike Budenholzer

Budenholzer's playoff woes have been well-documented and, given Phoenix's recent track record, are certainly are cause for concern. But there just aren't that many championship-winning head coaches who are looking for a job. He would also solve a lot of the issues reportedly facing the Suns in terms of a lack of structure and vision. Budenholzer has his system and plenty of proof that it works; he boasts a lifetime coaching record of 484-317.

Perhaps the best selling point on Budenholzer for the Suns is that you know exactly what you're getting with him. He'll scheme the roster to consistent success in the regular season and can win a few playoff series if things break right. Should Phoenix be in search of a high-floor coach, it doesn't get much better than Budenholzer.

Mark Jackson

Maybe the timing is finally just right for Jackson to get back into the coaching game. The former ESPN broadcaster has been linked to nearly every big head coaching gig since he lost his job with the Golden State Warriors. The big change, obviously, is that Jackson no longer has a day job after he was unexpectedly jettisoned by ESPN ahead of the 2023-24 season.

Jackson's last job on the bench with the Warriors was marred by controversy and he was unable to make a deep postseason run with an ultimately dynastic roster led by Stephen Curry. Neither are strong selling points. But that was a decade ago at this point. Jackson is a big name with prior coaching experience, and he cannot be ruled out.


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Liam McKeone

LIAM MCKEONE

Liam McKeone is a Senior Writer for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. In addition to his role as a writer, he collaborates with other teams across Minute Media to help define his team’s content strategy. He has been in the industry as a content creator since 2017, and prior to joining SI in 2024, Liam worked for NBC Sports Boston and The Big Lead. In addition to his work as a writer, he has hosted the Press Pass Podcast covering sports media and The Big Stream covering pop culture. A graduate of Fordham University, Liam is always up for a good debate and enjoys loudly arguing about sports, rap music, books, and video games. Liam has been a member of the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) since 2020.