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Frank Vogel has had a fairly successful head coaching career. Sure, he went 54-110 in two seasons with the Orlando Magic, but the team was rebuilding then. His tenures with the Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers were more memorable. He reached two straight Eastern Conference Finals in Indiana and won a championship during his first season in Los Angeles.

From a purely lucrative standpoint, though? Vogel’s best job was with the Phoenix Suns—the team that just fired him.

Despite a 49-33 finish and a playoff appearance, the Suns decided to part ways with Vogel. It’s a costly move, as he still has about $24 million remaining on the five-year contract he signed in 2023. And the Suns owe Vogel that money as part of the coach’s buyout.

That means the Suns could pay Vogel $31 million for one season of work, which ended in a first-round sweep in the playoffs.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Phoenix hired former Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, who’s no stranger to lucrative buyouts, either. The Bucks fired him before this past season, and he still made $8 million despite not coaching anywhere—one of three head coaches the Bucks paid last season.

New Suns owner Mat Ishbia has shown a willingness to spend money, and it’s clear he’s willing to eat the costs of firing Vogel. There were reports that Kevin Durant wasn’t happy with his role under Vogel, and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith claimed Durant went “more than a month” without talking to his former head coach.

Vogel took the 2018-19 season off after being fired from the Magic, and he had a similar year-long hiatus during the 2022-23 campaign after the Lakers let him go. There’s likely a clause in his contract that could recoup some of the money the Suns need to pay if he signs elsewhere, but what’s the hurry? He could make about $6 million every year for the next four seasons simply by enjoying his time not coaching basketball.

When you have that kind of financial freedom, you can take all the time in the world to make your next move.

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