By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The New Orleans Pelicans have fired head coach Scott Van Gundy. He led the team for one season.
The team went 31-41 this past season. The Pelicans did not make the Western Conference’s play-in tournament for the final two playoff spots.
The Pelicans are now looking for their third head coach in three seasons.
The Pelicans had high expectations going into the season despite a young roster. New Orleans also has one of the best young players in the league in Zion Williamson.
Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball make up the team’s young core. There was some distractions around the trade deadline, as Ball was being mentioned in trade rumors.
He is a free agent this summer.
“We were a very young, developing basketball team. While we have players with incredible talent, we don’t have the winning mettle yet,” Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin told reporters on May 17, the day after the regular season ended. “We know that to some degree. We know this is a process and it takes time. But we also have to take a look at ourselves, front office, coaching, players. Is what we are doing working? Are we doing enough for the group to create winning? That’s what our focus is going to be.”
New Orleans was the 11th-best team in the Western Conference this past season. They were two games behind the 10th-best San Antonio Spurs, who received the final spot in the play-in tournament.
With Van Gundy’s departure, the Pelicans are the second team to fire their head coach after one season. The Indiana Pacers were the other, as they fired Nate Bjorkgren.
The Pelicans are the sixth team looking for a head coach this off-season. They join Indiana, Boston, Orlando, Portland, and Washington.
“On behalf of Mrs. Gayle Benson and the Pelicans organization, I would like to thank Stan for the integrity and professionalism that he demonstrated during his time in New Orleans, as well as the commitment and work ethic he brought to our team,” Griffin said. “This was a difficult decision as I have tremendous respect for Stan both personally and professionally, but we agreed it is in the best interest of our team to move forward in a different direction. We wish Stan, Kim and their family all the best in the future.”
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