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#pounditThursday, December 2, 2021

Articles tagged: New Orleans Pelicans

Report: Pelicans wanted to bring back Chris Paul

Chris Paul Suns

Chris Paul appears likely to remain with the Phoenix Suns, but a somewhat surprising team apparently had hopes of luring him away.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the New Orleans Pelicans were determined to try to sign Paul at the start of free agency. New Pelicans coach Willie Green is close with Paul. However, the team’s interest predates Green’s hire, as they tried to trade for Paul before last season when he ultimately wound up in Phoenix.

The Pelicans appear unlikely to succeed in their quest, however. Fischer reports that Paul appears “all but destined” to return to the Suns on a three-year deal worth roughly $90 million.

Paul originally became a star with the New Orleans franchise after being drafted in 2005. It doesn’t sound like he ever had much interest in returning, however. As for the Pelicans, they’re clearly expecting to say goodbye to Lonzo Ball, as they have been linked to several top point guards.

Willie Green hired as Pelicans head coach

Willie Green

Willie Green has been considered the frontrunner for the New Orleans Pelicans head coach job for quite some time, and the team has now made it official.

The Pelicans announced on Thursday that they have hired Green as their head coach.

Green previously worked as an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns, so he was credited with helping the team reach the NBA Finals this year. The 39-year-old played in the NBA for 12 seasons and served as an assistant under Steve Kerr for the Warriors from 2016-2019. He joined Monty Williams’ staff in Phoenix in 2019, where he has been instrumental in coordinating a defense that has become one of the best in the NBA.

The Pelicans fired former head coach Stan Van Gundy after just one season with the team, likely due to philosophical differences. They obviously feel Green will be a better asset for Zion Williamson and the rest of the team’s young core.

Pelicans reportedly want to sign Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry

The New Orleans Pelicans have one of the most promising collections of young talent in the NBA, and they may feel that Kyle Lowry would be the perfect player to lead those players going forward.

Lowry is set to become a free agent this summer, and Marc Stein of the New York Times reported on Monday that the Pelicans are planning to pursue the veteran point guard.

Lowry is 35, but there will be high interest in him this summer. He averaged 17.2 points and 7.3 assists per game for the Toronto Raptors this season. You can understand why the Pelicans would feel he could be an asset to Zion Williamson as the former No. 1 overall pick enters his third NBA season.

The Los Angeles Lakers are another team to watch with Lowry. While they do not have much salary cap space, they may have a unique opportunity to acquire Lowry by using one of their own soon-to-be free agents.

Photo: Chensiyuan/Wikimedia via CC-by-S.A. 4.0

Report: Willie Green frontrunner for Pelicans head coach job

Willie Green

The New Orleans Pelicans appear to be closing in on a new head coach.

As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Phoenix Suns assistant Willie Green is the “strong frontrunner” to land the Pelicans job.

Green hasn’t been a huge name in public coaching rumors this offseason, but the Suns’ lead assistant has paid his dues. He had a 12-season playing career in the NBA and served as an assistant under Steve Kerr for the Warriors from 2016-2019. He joined Monty Williams’ staff in Phoenix in 2019, where he has been instrumental in coordinating a defense that has become one of the best in the NBA.

The Pelicans recently parted ways with coach Stan Van Gundy amid what appeared to be clear philosophical differences. The hope will be that Green provides the fresh voice and improved atmosphere that the young team seems to be looking for.

These teams reportedly have interest in Kevin Love trade

Kevin Love

Kevin Love battled injuries this past season and averaged career-lows in many statistical categories, but it sounds like there could still be a robust trade market for him this summer.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to explore trade possibilities for Love this offseason. According to Sam Amico of Hoops Wire, there are at least five teams that have interest in the 32-year-old — the New Orleans Pelicans, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers.

New Orleans would be an interesting spot for Love. The Pelicans have a core of young players in Zion Williams, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball that have seemingly infinite potential. They could use a veteran presence like Love now that they ousted Stan Van Gundy after just one season with the team.

The other four teams should all be playoff contenders and may consider Love a piece that could help put them over the top.

Love averaged 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds this year, which were the worst marks of his career.

Love almost certainly wants a trade, as a recent report indicated he does not really fit in with Cleveland’s future plans.

Stan Van Gundy responds to talk that Zion Williamson pushed him out

Stan Van Gundy

Stan Van Gundy lasted just one season with the New Orleans Pelicans, which led many to jump to the conclusion that he was pushed out by the team’s young star players. Some speculated that Van Gundy must not have gotten alone with Zion Williamson, but the coach says that was not the case.

Van Gundy discussed his firing during an appearance on the “STUpodity” podcast this week. He said it bothers him when players are blamed for coaching changes because those decisions are ultimately made by the front office. More specifically, he said Williamson was not responsible for him losing his job.

“I know this, regardless of what happened in that regard, Zion’s no coach killer,” Van Gundy said, as transcribed by ESPN’s Andrew Lopez. “He’s a guy who is gonna help you win a lot of games. He plays the game the right way. One of the things I’ll miss is the opportunity to continue to coach him. He’s so unique in the way that he plays the game and the things that he can do, it really gets your mind spinning as a coach and you have a lot of possibilities in what you can do with him. That was fun to explore. I’m happy with what we did with Zion. I think we helped him. How anyone else felt about that would be up to them.”

After Van Gundy was fired, a report from The Athletic claimed Williamson’s family was unhappy with the coach. There has also been talk that Williamson and Brandon Ingram were frustrated with Van Gundy’s coaching style. Van Gundy said he never heard anything about that but did not rule it out.

“If they were unhappy, I didn’t hear about it,” he said. “Zion was unhappy with us not winning more games, but Zion never expressed to me any of that. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t unhappy; it’s possible that they were unhappy with me and that’s what led to the change.”

Williamson had an outstanding individual season with 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. He shot 61.1 percent from the field. Despite that, the Pelicans failed to qualify for the play-in tournament.

The Pelicans are determined to keep Williamson happy, and they have already shown that in a variety of ways. Williamson may not have been responsible for Van Gundy’s firing, but it is safe to conclude that Van Gundy would still be with the team if Williamson wanted him to be.

Video: Swin Cash has hilarious reaction to Pelicans’ lottery pick

Swin Cash

Swin Cash had a hilarious reaction to the New Orleans Pelicans’ draft result.

The NBA held its lottery on Tuesday night. Cash, the Vice President of Business Operations for the Pelicans, represented the team at the event.

When it was revealed that the Pelicans received the NO. 10 pick in the draft, Cash was disgusted. Take a look at this:

That was classic.

New Orleans actually had a 60 percent chance of getting the No. 10 pick, so that’s probably what Cash should have expected.

Still, it didn’t stop her from giving us a great moment.

David Griffin causing issues for Pelicans?

David Griffin

The New Orleans Pelicans just fired head coach Stan Van Gundy. But that may not necessarily be the solution to all that ails them.

John Hollinger of The Athletic reported this week about the relationships Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin had with both Van Gundy and Van Gundy’s predecessor, Alvin Gentry. Hollinger notes observing an incident during a 2019 Pelicans game. Griffin left his seat during a timeout and whispered something to the Pelicans trainer. The trainer then spoke to Gentry, leading to Gentry making a substitution. Gentry was eventually fired in 2020 after just one season of working with Griffin.

Hollinger also reports that Griffin’s relationship with Van Gundy quickly went south as well. Though Van Gundy was Griffin’s chosen successor, it reportedly became obvious by the end of the year that owner Gayle Benson had to remove one of them.

This comes after ex-Pelicans guard JJ Redick personally criticized Griffin for his handling of Redick’s departure from the team. Franchise cornerstone Zion Williamson is also reportedly unhappy with the Pelicans.

It is true that Griffin is an executive with championship pedigree. He helped put together the Cleveland Cavaliers team that won the 2016 NBA title. But his inability to this point to get along with multiple coaches and players in New Orleans may be a pretty significant issue.

Report: Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram were unhappy with Stan Van Gundy

Stan Van Gundy

The New Orleans Pelicans made the somewhat surprising decision to fire coach Stan Van Gundy after just one season. Though the move seemingly came out of nowhere, it certainly appears that it had been coming for a while.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, Van Gundy’s coaching and communication styles failed to connect with Pelicans players and staff. In addition, Van Gundy’s methodical offense and preference for playing veterans over younger players created friction with executive vice president David Griffin and the front office, who felt that Van Gundy was not making the most of the roster that had been constructed for him.

Most notably, Van Gundy seemingly had issues with the franchise’s star players, and his old-school style clashed with the team’s younger core and identity. The report states that the move to fire Van Gundy was partly to please Zion Williamson. Griffin wants Williamson used more as a primary ball-handler, a role Williamson apparently likes but Van Gundy was less sold on. Griffin and the team’s basketball operations also wanted to see the team play at a faster, less methodical pace than Van Gundy preferred.

Forward Brandon Ingram was also reported to have become unhappy with Van Gundy’s leadership.

The abbreviated preseason and lack of practices hurt Van Gundy’s ability to bond with his team, but it wasn’t just on-court issues that got Van Gundy fired. He also apparently failed to develop much of a relationship with Gayle Benson, the team’s principal owner.

It’s clear that Williamson is the player the Pelicans want to build around, and Griffin is actively trying to do things to increase the chances of him staying in New Orleans whenever he becomes an unrestricted free agent, which won’t be until 2024 at the earliest. That mindset led to statements like this one, and apparently it’s played a role in this coaching change as well.

Report: Jason Kidd among candidates for this head coaching job

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd has been mentioned as a potential candidate for several head coaching jobs this offseason, and we can now add the New Orleans Pelicans to that list.

The Pelicans fired Stan Van Gundy on Wednesday after just one season with the team. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, they are expected to gauge Kidd’s interest in the job. Brooklyn Nets assistants Jacque Vaughn and Ime Udoka could also be asked to interview.

That makes at least three teams that have some level of interest in Kidd, though he already withdrew his name from consideration for one head coaching job. He will reportedly interview for the Orlando Magic job this week.

Kidd, 48, was a Hall of Fame point guard as a player. He went into coaching after his playing career and had stints with the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks as a head coach. He has has spent the last two seasons under Frank Vogel with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kidd has a 183-190 record as a head coach. His teams have reached the playoffs three times. He was fired by Milwaukee during the 2017-2018 season.