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Brandon Ingram potentially responsible for Stan Van Gundy’s firing after one season with Pels

Pelicans, Brandon Ingram, Stan Van Gundy

The New Orleans Pelicans fired head coach Stan Van Gundy after just one season on Wednesday. Brandon Ingram might have played a role in SVG’s dismissal.

Christian Clark of Nola.com reported Ingram’s relationship with Van Gundy was on unstable ground for the majority of the season:

Van Gundy’s relationship with All-Star forward Brandon Ingram was strained for a majority of the season, multiple sources said.

Zion Williamson might be the true franchise cornerstone in New Orleans, but Ingram is every bit as important to the Pelicans organization.

Ingram seemed to finally realize his immense potential in his first season with the Pelicans, averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per contest during the 2019-20 season. He made his first All-Star team and promptly signed a five-year max extension this past November.

Ingram and the Pelicans entered the 2020-21 season with playoff expectations, but they struggled to build any momentum in a crowded Western Conference.

On the surface, Ingram had another strong season. He averaged 23.8 points for the second straight season and also had an identical effective field goal percentage (.531). However, there were times where he appeared downright passive and hardly seemed to touch the ball in big moments.

The Pelicans face some questions in the offseason, notably what they will do with Lonzo Ball, who is a restricted free agent. Ball might not be back in New Orleans next season, but Ingram remains as one of the two franchise centerpieces.

It seems likely the Pelicans will seek out Ingram’s input after failing miserably in their last search for a new head coach.