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Center of the Sun: Surprise! It’s Uncle Frank!

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Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Three Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

There you have it. After much speculation, wonderment, and conjecture, it’s Frank Vogel who will be the 21st head coach in franchise history for the Phoenix Suns.

Frank Vogel. Let that sink in.

It feels like the morning of your birthday, and as you wipe the sleep from your eyes, your mother tells you a special guest will be at your birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese tonight. You race off to school and ponder the possibility with your friends. Is it grandma and grandpa? Did they make the trip in from Texas to see you? Did mom get Kevin Johnson?! Who in the name of Jasper T. Jowls could it be?

The day goes by, you learn nothing at school, and you head to the strip mall for the shindig.

That evening you’re watching a silly mouse dance around with pizza that tastes like cardboard when your mother quietly whispers in your ear, “look who it is”. You spin your noggin abruptly – something that you’ll feel for a week when you’re 40 – and there your special guest is.

It’s your mom’s oldest brother, Uncle Frank.

Of course you are happy to see Uncle Frank. He’s family. It’s been two years since he left on some psychedelic self-help pilgrimage that you’ve heard your mom and pop facetiously question around the dinner table.

One year he gave you a He-Man action figure that you still play with, despite having one of his arms lost in an epic battle with Grune from ThunderCats.

Uncle Frank is here. He’s cool-ish, but he’s not Kevin Johnson.

There were no true flashy n’ splashy head coaching candidates on the market this offseason. Tyronn Lue was a pipe dream – and one that would cost you assets you don’t possess – and he was the closest thing to wanting KJ to show up at Cheese’s.

There was plenty of experience, some championship winners, but ultimately it was a pool of Uncle Frank’s. Mat Ishbia and James Jones with the Uncle Frank that meets the needs of the organization at this time and place.

“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well, you might find, you get what you need. Ah, yeah.” — Mick Jagger/Keith Richards

Frank Vogel might not be what everyone wants. But he might just be what the Suns need. They need experience. They need defense. They need a steady hand. They need adjustments. They need to hear about Uncle Frank’s psychedelic self-help pilgrimage. Maybe it will lead them to the promised land.

2021-22 Season Highlights

How did the Suns do against Frank Vogel two seasons ago? Phoenix went 4-0 against him.


SUNS at LAKERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | December 21, 2021:



News & Notes

Clutch Points: Will Suns fully guarantee Cameron Payne’s contract for 2023-24?

SI Fan Nation: Warriors GM Steps Down; Will Suns Pounce?

NBA Analysis Network: Suns Land Raptors’ Fred VanVleet In Bold NBA Trade Scenario

Arizona Sports: Pistons agree to deal with former Suns HC Monty Williams

Last Word on Sports: NBA Rumors: Phoenix and Indiana Are Potential Landing Spots For Rui Hachimura

Bleacher Report: NBA Rumors: Doc Rivers Withdrew from Suns HC Search Ahead of Frank Vogel’s Hiring

The Athletic: Frank Vogel, Suns finalizing deal to hire him as coach, per sources: What he brings to Phoenix

Yahoo Sports: Frank Vogel Phoenix Suns coach hire draws mixed reaction on NBA Twitter

Burn City Sports: Rumor: Kevin Young Could Be Staying as the Suns Top Assistant

AZ Central: Bill Simmons roasted after Phoenix Suns’ Frank Vogel hire: ‘It’s gonna be Kevin Young’

Arizona Sports: What does Frank Vogel’s hire tell us about how Suns build the roster?

Clutch Points: Frank Vogel hire sparks massive questions on Deandre Ayton’s Suns future

AZ Central: Suns owner Mat Ishbia ends United Wholesale Mortgage’s Michigan State NIL deal

SI Fan Nation: Frank Vogel Hire Could See Suns Pursue Chris Paul’s Replacement

ESPN: Sources: Suns make Kevin Young highest-paid assistant coach

AZ Central: 3 reasons Phoenix Suns should keep Deandre Ayton – and 3 reasons they shouldn’t

Quotes of the Week

“It’s the classic getting the opposite of what you had. Monty Williams was a demanding coach, and Vogel is not like that. Vogel is also non-confrontational which is perfect for the Suns.” — Ric Bucher, FOX Sports

“He’s not a bad choice for the job. He preaches defense.” Stephen A. Smith

“Trade him. I can’t take the risk that Frank Vogel can unlock the best version of Deandre Ayton.” — Dave Burns, Arizona Sports

This Week in Suns History

June 15, 1989

The 1989 NBA Expansion draft was held to populate the rosters of two new teams, the Orlando Magic and the Minnesota Timberwolves. As part of the expansion process, existing NBA teams were required to make a certain number of players available for selection by the new teams. The Phoenix Suns, like other established teams, had to protect a set number of players and expose the rest to the draft.

The Suns made eight players available for the expansion draft. Minnesota, with their second pick (and fourth overall), chose Tyrone Corbin. Corbin had come to Phoenix in the Kevin Johnson trade in 1988. He would have his best years with the Timberwolves, averaging 16.2 points in three seasons.

He was the only member of the Suns who was chosen by the two expansion teams.

Important Future Dates

June 22: NBA Draft.

June 29: Final day for teams to make qualifying offers to restricted free agents.

June 30: Teams can begin negotiating with free agents at 6:00 pm ET.

July 1: Official start of the 2023-24 NBA league year. Moratorium period begins. Restricted free agents can sign an offer sheet. Teams can begin signing players to rookie scale contracts, minimum salary contracts, and two-way contracts. Teams can begin exercising the third- or fourth-year team options for 2024-25 on rookie scale contracts.

July 6: Free agency moratorium period ends (10.01 am ET). Teams can begin officially signing players, extending players, and completing trades. The two-day period for matching an RFA offer sheet signed during the moratorium begins.

July 7-17: NBA Summer League (Las Vegas).

July 13: Last day for teams to unilaterally withdraw qualifying offers to restricted free agents.

August TBD: NBA schedule released.

August 31: Last day for teams to waive players and apply the stretch provision to their 2023-24 salaries.

September 5: Last day for teams to issue required tenders to unsigned second-round picks; those players become free agents on September 6 if not tendered.

Late September: (specific dates TBA) Training camps open.

October 24: 2023-24 NBA season begins.

Bringing it Home

When I hear the name Frank Vogel, I think one thing: I think it means we’re gonna be okay.

I know there were plenty of Kevin Young truthers in the crowd. I knew who you were when we’d mention his initials. I could hear your giggles. I silently chuckled along with you.

While I wasn’t opposed to the proposition of having someone within the organization take a step up and get the big gig, I feel that would’ve been the last-case scenario for Phoenix. Why get rid of Monty to have a Monty disciple take the reigns?

Phoenix is in ”win now” mode. This isn’t a “win in three years” situation. This isn’t “let’s wait and find out if a rookie head coach has the magic touch and watch him as he makes mistakes on our time” case.

Frank Vogel is a solid addition to this team and this franchise.

He is a defensively-minded coach who made the Eastern Conference Finals twice with the Indiana Pacers – losing to the LeBron/Wade/Bosh Miami Heat trio in 7 games in 2013 and 6 games in 2014 – and won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020. Discount that ring if you want, but you’d be discounting the 8-0 Bubble Suns in the same breath. How dare you.

It is not the best résumé out there, but it is pretty damn respectable. It easily trumps that of Kevin Young. Keep your KY jokes to yourself and go back to third grade. I’ll meet you at recess.

The Suns signed Young to a $2M-plus per-year contract. Ishbia isn’t afraid to spend some cash, and he did so to keep an offensive mind in the Valley. $2M is more than Bismack Biyombo, T.J. Warren, Damion Lee, Josh Okogie, Jock Landale, Terrence Ross, and Ish Wainright made last season.

So here we are. We have an assistant head coach with funny initials and is an X’s and O’s guy and a head coach who lives with his arms crossed and looks like Joe Gatto from the TruTV show Impractical Jokers.

I will spend many a night screaming, “Larry!” at my television this next season. I’m looking forward to the journey ahead.

The upcoming weeks will be filled with speculation. We’re looking at free agency. We’re looking at the trade market. We’re looking at the draft? There is so much to be excited for as a Phoenix basketball fan this off-season. James Jones will test us. You know he will. He has a history of never doing what we think he should do.

With only two players truly guaranteed to be back next year in Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, that leaves so much opportunity, and so much craziness before us.

Buckle up, buckaroos.

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