Stan Van Gundy fired as head coach of Pelicans
Another NBA head coaching vacancy has opened up, as the New Orleans Pelicans have fired Stan Van Gundy after just one season.
Van Gundy and Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin have been engaged in talks for weeks and decided to part ways, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez.
The Pelicans finished 31-41 this season and missed the play-in tournament by two games. Van Gundy told reporters at the end of the year that COVID protocols created unique challenges in his first season with the team, which ended up being his last.
One of the main reasons Van Gundy was hired was his reputation for having great defensive teams. That did not translate in New Orleans, as the Pelicans ranked in the bottom third of the NBA in many major defensive categories.
The Pelicans obviously feel Van Gundy is not the right person to lead their young core of Zion Williams, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. The 61-year-old took two seasons off before he landed the New Orleans job. He had stints coaching the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic and Miami Heat before that.