PHOENIX SUNS

Mat Ishbia says he hasn’t discussed Suns coach Frank Vogel’s future

May 1, 2024, 3:43 PM

Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia did not issue a statement of support or confirmation that head coach Frank Vogel will return for a second season in charge.

Instead, Ishbia said he would not address specific coaches, executives or players Wednesday as he and general manager James Jones addressed reporters. The owner had just returned to Phoenix and said he’d yet to begin sitting down with his staffers to evaluate the 2023-24 season after 49 wins and first-round sweep handed down by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“I have not had one discussion (about Vogel’s season) … not one discussion about my GM, my coach, we’re trading players now supposedly in the media,” Ishbia said. “Not one discussion’s even been had, let alone any decision being made. There’s been nothing about any of those things, any of those people.

“I think Frank Vogel did a lot of great things, I think (president of basketball operations and GM) James Jones did a lot of great things, I think (CEO) Josh Bartelstein does, I think our players do, I think I’ve done some great things, but we’re going to evaluate everything.”

That process will begin starting Wednesday.

It comes after The Athletic reported after the Suns’ Game 4 loss to the T-Wolves on Sunday that Phoenix will consider moving on from Vogel after just one year on the job. The story included instances of players finding frustration in how the offense utilized them and questions about Vogel’s command of the locker room.

Ishbia took accountability but added he felt the Suns are closer to being a title contender than many — especially media members — believe.

He added that he expects the starting five of Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant, Jusuf Nurkic and Grayson Allen will all be back. Multiple times, Ishbia said he loved the scrutiny the Suns have gotten for falling well short of meeting the massive expectations of the 2023-24 season, his first full year in charge.

“The narrative around ‘the house is burning’ is incorrect,” Ishbia said. “The Phoenix Suns are doing great.”

There were hints in the words he said that maybe Ishbia isn’t quite ready to make waves of change before next year. He and Jones spoke about the importance of continuity and listed off the lengths of the starters’ contracts that outsiders see more as a hindrance.

“I don’t think it’s a blow-it-up and all these things people want to talk about,” Ishbia said.

Jones did more to defend his head coach and laid out reasons why the Suns often looked disjointed.

“I think Frank did a great job given the circumstances,” Jones said, citing injuries and the challenge of navigating the chemistry-building of the Suns’ three offensive threats. “There’s a transition time. It’s sometimes a struggle but I thought he did a great job this year.”

Did the general manager believe Vogel failed to have player buy-in?

“No, I don’t believe that’s the case. I believe when things get tough and you’re uncertain, you start to guess,” Jones said. “I thought … we saw some indecision.”

“It’s not about buy-in,” he added of the biggest challenge. “It’s about belief.”

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Mat Ishbia says he hasn’t discussed Suns coach Frank Vogel’s future