BREAKING: Pelicans fire Stan Van Gundy after 1 season
The New Orleans Pelicans have fired head coach Stan Van Gundy after just one season with the team, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez. Van Gundy took over for Alvin Gentry after he was let go following a brief stint in the bubble.
The Pelicans went just 31-41 this season and missed the play-in tournament despite a talented roster led by Zion Williamson. New Orleans struggled defensively for much of the season and suffered a number of mind-numbing losses, which often left Van Gundy exasperated. There was apparently some tension in the organization thanks to the disappointing season:
A disappointing season left Stan Van Gundy with tenuous relationships across the Pelicans organization.
For months, sources around the team have noted tension was obvious with players, front office and there was almost no relationship with ownership.
— Scott Kushner (@ScottDKushner) June 16, 2021
It clearly wasn’t working out, so David Griffin just made the call to cut his losses and let Van Gundy go after weeks of discussions. There are already some early candidates to replace SVG emerging:
Sources: Pelicans assistant coaches Teresa Weatherspoon and Fred Vinson are considered serious candidates to replace Stan Van Gundy.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 16, 2021
In search for a replacement, Pelicans are expected to circle back among some candidates from a year ago, including assistants Jacque Vaughn and Ime Udoka (Brooklyn), Charles Lee (Milwaukee) and Jason Kidd (Lakers), sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/sAduFLcEiG
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 16, 2021
The next Pelicans head coach will be taking over a team that should be in position to make a leap in the standings if they can find more consistency on both ends of the court. Zion had an absolutely incredible season in Year 2, going for 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 61.1% from the field. Brandon Ingram is another young star in place, and New Orleans will have to make a decision on Lonzo Ball this offseason.
As for Stan Van Gundy, it will be interesting to see if he looks for another coaching job or returns to the television booth. He hasn’t had much success as a head coach after a terrific start to his coaching career with the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.