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Why Frank Vogel credits Domantas Sabonis for him becoming Lakers coach

Frank Vogel, Lakers, Domantas Sabonis

If not for Domantas Sabonis, Frank Vogel may very well not be the current head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

In the 2016 draft, the Orlando Magic traded Victor Oladipo, the No. 11 pick (Sabonis) and Ersan Ilyasova to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Serge Ibaka.

2016 was also the first year of Vogel as head coach of the Magic. Sabonis and Oladipo didn’t do much in Oklahoma City but after they were both traded to the Indiana Pacers in a deal for Paul George, they would develop into All-Star players.

Vogel would end up being fired in Orlando after just two seasons. On the other hand, Sabonis is having the best season of his young career for Indiana and is making his first All-Star appearance this weekend.

Prior to Sunday’s All-Star game, Vogel joked that if Orlando hadn’t traded Sabonis, he wouldn’t be in Los Angeles.

“I credit (Domantas Sabonis) for me being the Lakers coach, because if we would have not traded he and Victor and kept them in Orlando, I probably would still be coaching the Orlando Magic,” Vogel joked, per Harrison Faigen of SB Nation.

In his first season with the Lakers, Frank Vogel has coached the team to a Western-Conference best 41-12 record behind the efforts of superstars Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

As for Domantas Sabonis, the fourth-year big man is putting up 18.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game — all career highs for the former lottery pick. Sabonis is also shooting 54.1 percent from the field and has kept Indiana alive in the playoff race without Oladipo for the majority of the season’s first half.