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.
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
David Griffin was furious with the NBA over the injury Zion Williamson suffered on Friday, and the way the New Orleans Pelicans executive voiced his frustration has cost him a large sum of money.
The NBA announced on Sunday that Griffin has been fined $50,000 for “public criticism of the officiating and comments detrimental to the NBA.”
Williamson suffered a fractured finger on his left hand during the Pelicans’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night. The team said he will be sidelined indefinitely, which is going to make it much more difficult for New Orleans to qualify for the play-in tournament.
Griffin was obviously upset by the news, and he decided to lash out at NBA officials for not doing enough to protect Williamson. You can read Griffin’s comments here.
The Pelicans entered Sunday in 11th place in the Western Conference. They’re two games back of the No. 10 seed San Antonio Spurs with just five games remaining in the regular season.
For the second consecutive game, the New Orleans Pelicans failed to see out a late lead and ended up losing in overtime, this time to the New York Knicks.
With 7.8 seconds left and the Pelicans leading by three, Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe failed to foul Derrick Rose to prevent a game-tying three. Lonzo Ball then lost Knicks guard Reggie Bullock, who found himself wide open to knock down the game-tying three to force overtime.
After the game, Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy ripped into his players, saying they made mistakes high schoolers wouldn’t have made.
Stan Van Gundy: “Today, with 7.8 seconds left, high school guys would’ve done what they’re supposed to do.”
Van Gundy’s rage is understandable. The Pelicans also blew a late lead against the Washington Wizards on Friday, which prompted Van Gundy to turn his frustrations on a different target. With New Orleans fading from the playoff race thanks to these defeats, Van Gundy’s only going to get more frustrated the more this continues.
Veteran guard J.J. Redick accused New Orleans Pelicans executive VP David Griffin and the team’s front office of dishonest treatment surrounding Redick’s trade to the Dallas Mavericks.
On Wednesday, Redick spent time on his “Old Man & the Three” podcast discussing the Pelicans’ handling of him this season. He said he had requested a trade in November, in part because of the difficulties of his family in Brooklyn to come visit him during the season. Redick claims Griffin told him to come down for a month and if that did not change Redick’s mind, the Pelicans would find a situation elsewhere that he was happy with.
Redick went on to say that he expected to be bought out once a trade did not happen by February, and was “shocked’ when he was shipped to the Mavericks, saying the team never came up in discussions with New Orleans.
JJ Redick on his podcast:
– He was "shocked" to be traded to the Mavericks – He requested a trade in November to be closer to his family in Brooklyn during COVID – He thought the Pelicans would offer a buyout after the trade deadline pic.twitter.com/ElgsesVFHT
“I don’t think you’re going to get honesty from that front office, objectively speaking,” Redick said, via Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “That’s not an opinion, I just don’t think you’re gonna get that. I don’t think what happened with me is necessarily an isolated incident. I think front offices around the league operate in their best interest. I get that. I understand that.
“Truthfully… I think I was a little naive thinking I was in Year 15 and I attempted to do things right throughout my career. But in terms of this front office, yeah, it’s not something where I would expect certainly the agents who worked on this with me to ever trust that front office again.”
It’s certainly not great for the Pelicans if this reputation sticks. Players pay attention to this sort of thing, and Redick’s bad experience might resonate with others. It could potentially lead to some veterans thinking twice before agreeing to join the Pelicans depending on the circumstances.