The NBA Finals are still being contested but every other team is focused on next season. The executive and coaching carousels are starting to spin with a bit more speed now that UConn's Dan Hurley has shunned the Los Angeles Lakers. The New Orleans Pelicans have been one of the most affected franchises in this offseason scramble and they need to shore up their position sooner rather than later.

No one wants to be left picking over the leftovers. The organization has already lost multiple executives and Pelicans associate HC James Borrego is in the mix for multiple leading jobs, including the Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers. Now ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports longtime shooting and development coach Fred Vinson is following POBO Trajan Langdon and VP Michael Blackstone to the Detroit Pistons. That may not be the end of the exodus either. EVP David Griffin and Willie Green may need to replace over half of their respective executive and coaching staffs before training camp.

Exits of these leading voices are perhaps a reason to call up one of the most respected offensive minds in basketball. The Pelicans hired Mike D'Antoni in August 2021 as a coaching consultant to assist Green, a first-time head coach. D'Antoni was named the NBA's 2004-05 and 2016-17 Coach of the Year while with the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets and could provide a calming, known voice in the locker room.

D'Antoni lacks an NBA championship but the Seven Seconds or Less architect is bound for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach and overall contributor to the game. Those seven different titles in Europe cannot be ignored for the career ladder climber. Titles are titles wherever they are won and D'Antoni has constructed winning offenses. Those teams just lacked the kind of defenses Green is known for crafting.

Taking a bigger role with the Pelicans would bring some added pressure and stress for the 73-year-old. However, personal observations during Summer League actions suggest Mike D'Antoni is fine taking a back seat during live game action. Green is young enough to do the required yelling while the elder statesman gets to enjoy leading detailed practices.

Pelicans looking for experienced replacements

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni looks on during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers at Toyota Center.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans is looking for fresh faces but they need to bring in a certain level of experience. Steve Nash and James Harden won NBA MVP under D'Antoni. That should get Zion Williamson's attention. Getting to work with Williamson might not be enough to entice D'Antoni down to the bench for a full 82-game slate though. If not, other experienced coaches can be approached about a position on the staff.

James Borrego and Kenny Atkinson are both doing interview sessions with the Cleveland Cavaliers this week. Atkinson did well as a development coach guiding a rebuilding Brooklyn Nets squad to respectability. Atkinson's Nets even made the NBA playoffs, earning the sixth seed while the recently acquired but still rehabbing Kevin Durant watched from the bench.

Terry Stotts, Dave Joerger, and Sam Cassell are three other experienced names that might be ringing out in New Orleans soon. Other less experienced names to consider for the assistant jobs are Lloyd Pierce and Mike Weinar (Indiana Pacers), Chris Quinn (Miami Heat), Jordan Sears (Texas Legends), TJ Saint (Birmingham Squadron) or Jodie Meeks (Birmingham Squadron).

Bringing in an experienced voice helps Griffin keep his job and make a change if next season goes south under Green. Green has done well holding together and developing a young, sometimes struggling locker room thus far. That will not matter next season. Regardless of injury luck, the Pelicans have to show they can compete in a grueling Western Conference.

Not having a backup plan would be reason enough for ownership to clean house despite having signed Griffin and Green to contract extensions last spring. Having a seasoned leader ready to take the reigns might just be enough to save the season, which would buy Griffin more time. That's just one reason why having a Hall of Fame caliber voice on the bench every day could make a big difference for the 2024-25 Pelicans.