Vogel will lead a team with two superstars, Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. He spoke about his early conversations with the duo at his introductory press conference at Footprint Center in Phoenix Tuesday afternoon.
“I don’t have a lot of experience prior to this process,” Vogel said of his relationship with the two. “I did coach Devin in, I believe, his first All-Star game (2020) a couple years back. So that was fun, and I had met KD (Durant's nickname) a few years back at one of the other All-Star games, I think when I was with the Pacers.
“So limited experience there, but had great conversations with both of those guys after being hired. A lot of our beliefs are really aligned, a lot of our expectations and hopes for what we want to do to this league this year, we’re all very excited about it.”
Vogel has experience coaching stars. He led the Los Angeles Lakers with LeBron James and Anthony Davis to the 2020 NBA championship. Before that, he coached the Indiana Pacers and Paul George to consecutive conference finals in 2013 and 2014. George, Vogel and the Pacers forced a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals and almost defeated James and the champion Miami Heat in 2013.
Durant and Booker will lead the Suns to what they hope will be the the franchise's first-ever championships in the next few years.
The star duo not made available to the media, but Vogel said Durant told him he is excited to play in his defensive scheme.
“He wants to get after it on both sides of the ball, he feels like that’s something that really gets him going on the other end,” Vogel said. “And I love that.
Suns majority owner Mat Ishbia said in a radio interview with Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday Booker, Durant and starting point guard Chris Paul were in the loop about the team's coaching search.
“They were aware,” Ishbia said. “They don’t have to make the decision, I’m not asking Kevin or Devin or Chris or any of these guys like, ‘Hey, should we hire him or not?’ It was, ‘Here’s what we’re doing, here’s what we’re thinking. Any thoughts or feedback, we’d love to hear it.’ And we get peoples’ buy-in and understanding of what we’re thinking and what we’re trying to do.
“Everyone’s got to play their role, but at the same time, everyone’s communicating. Book and KD and Chris, like all these guys, we want their thoughts and opinions.”
Vogel added he wants every player on the team to be a “two-way” player on offense and defense.
“I think those guys are going to be great,” Vogel said of Booker and Durant.
The Suns will move to an offseason in which they have to build their roster around their stars. Phoenix made one of its steps toward what it hopes will be its first-ever championship with Vogel's hiring.
Now, the team will move toward an offseason in which it will look to build around Durant and Booker and pursue a championship.