Ishbia: New Suns head coach Frank Vogel ‘checked all the boxes’ for Phoenix

Jun 6, 2023, 4:32 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2023, 8:13 am

Frank Vogel...

Head coach Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts against the Detroit Pistons during the first quarter of the game at Little Caesars Arena on November 21, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns flipped the switch this offseason, opting to bring in head coach Frank Vogel in place of Monty Williams.

Williams had helped raise Phoenix up to a high level of play, but when it came down to it, he just couldn’t get the Suns over the hump.

With where the Suns stand, it was a tough but necessary move for new owner Mat Ishbia and president and general manager James Jones, who bring a championship-winning coach to the desert for the first time ever.

Title windows aren’t open for long, and as we all saw with the addition of Kevin Durant shortly after Ishbia took over control of the team, the owner isn’t afraid to mix things up.

After meeting with Vogel for 2-3 hours two weeks prior, the owner knew he had taken the proper course of action for the franchise.

“I ended up meeting with five different candidates and honestly, Frank was the clear-cut obvious choice,” Ishbia told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Tuesday. “A lot of guys did a lot of great things. … All five I was very impressed with, but Frank Vogel was the guy. I knew it the minute he walked out of the room. … All aspects of it, from the type of person he is first. A leader, a culture guy, a communicator, championship pedigree. He’s also won with two superstars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis and he also won very recently. This isn’t like he won 20 years ago.”

“But also when you start talking about the defense, start talking about the Xs and Os, start talking about the players’ development. You start talking about all these things and the kind of guy that’s going to attract other great coaches and other players that want to be here. He just checked all the boxes. After we went through it, he just became the obvious choice.”

While Vogel got the job, he wasn’t the only head-coaching finalist that had both Ishbia and Jones walking away impressed.

Ishbia enjoyed his time with Doc Rivers, Nick Nurse and Jordi Fernandez, but when it came down to it, Vogel and Suns assistant Kevin Young were the top two options.

The owner managed to get them both, inking Young to a lucrative contract that makes him the NBA’s top-paid assistant.

It was an important signing for Ishbia to make as he looks to add — and spend for — the best of the best in hopes of reaching the pinnacle of the sport.

“Kevin Young’s a winner. He’s a great coach and he’s going to be an NBA head coach very soon,” Ishbia said. “If we would have ended up with Kevin Young, that would have been a great option, too, but Frank Vogel was the guy. Kevin Young joining us as an assistant was a no-brainer. First off, Kevin Young wants to be here in Phoenix, which is important. The players love him, we all love him and he can bring some continuity from the previous staff and leadership group to the new one.

“We’re not letting money stop us from being successful. … We’re not stopping for contracts and dollar amounts. To get the best team available, you need the best coaches, the best training staff, the best massage therapists. Whatever it may be, every aspect of the organization. … Money follows success. We’re not going to nickel and dime different things.”

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Ishbia: New Suns head coach Frank Vogel ‘checked all the boxes’ for Phoenix