With the start of the NBA season rapidly approaching, teams are getting a firsthand look at how their offseason additions will blend on their new squads. For teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, this is an optimistic yet crucial time. Following consecutive premature playoff exits, the Bucks entered the offseason eager to improve their roster, with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s impending 2021 free agency looming large. Entering the season with a championship-or-bust mentality, the Bucks swung for the fences in their trade to acquire Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans.
Originally only supposed to be a two-team swap, Milwaukee and New Orleans expanded the Jrue Holiday deal to include the Denver Nuggets and perpetually-active Oklahoma City Thunder, creating a blockbuster four-team trade. When the dust settled, the team’s returns were as followed:
Here is a look at our grades for each team involved in the trade.
Stan Van Gundy took two years off from coaching after he was fired by the Detroit Pistons in 2018, but he will return to the sideline next season.
Van Gundy has agreed to a deal to become the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, according to multiple reports.
Van Gundy, 61, has 12 total seasons of NBA head coaching experience. He last coached the Pistons from 2014 to 2018, making just one playoff appearance during that span. Van Gundy also previously coached the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic. This will be his first head coaching gig in the Western Conference.
The Pelicans fired head coach Alvin Gentry in August and have an excellent core of young players to build around. Van Gundy’s brother Jeff, who has been a broadcaster for several years, actually had gotten more buzz as a coaching candidate this offseason.
Tyronn Lue was also considered a candidate for the Pelicans job, but he was instead promoted by the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Pelicans finished 30-42 last season and missed the playoffs for the second straight year. They are hoping Van Gundy’s experience will be an asset for young superstar Zion Williamson.
New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans owner Gayle Benson was involved in an auto theft attempt recently, but fortunately she was not harmed.
Saints and Pelicans senior vice president of communications Greg Bensel issued a statement on Friday confirming that Benson was the victim of an auto theft incident in New Orleans. While the 73-year-old was “very shaken,” she was unharmed and is now doing fine.
According to a police report obtained by WDSU-TV, Benson was seated in her car on Saturday night when a white truck parked directly beside her. One of the suspects entered Benson’s vehicle and she ordered the man to leave. The suspects then returned to their truck and fled the scene.
Police in New Orleans are still investigating.
Benson became the principal owner of the Saints and Pelicans when her husband Tom died in 2018. She is the first woman to be a majority shareholder in both an NFL and NBA franchise.
One of the most in-demand NBA coaching candidates has an extensive slate of interviews lined up this weekend.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Tyronn Lue is meeting with the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday afternoon. He has meetings with the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets lined up over the weekend.
Lue has won an NBA title and is well-regarded in NBA circles. He spent last season as an assistant coach with the Clippers, so he may have the inside track on that job.
This puts Lue in the mix for three of the five vacant NBA head coaching jobs. He hasn’t been linked to the Oklahoma City Thunder or Indiana Pacers.
Tyronn Lue spent the 2019-20 season as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers, but it sounds like he may have an opportunity to choose between multiple head coaching jobs heading into next year.
Lue is considered by many to be the favorite to replace Doc Rivers as the head coach of the Clippers. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, he will also interview with the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans for their head coaching vacancies.
Each of those three jobs should appeal to Lue. The draw with the Clippers is obvious, as they are a championship contender and Lue has already established a relationship with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Rockets have just as much star power with James Harden and Russell Westbrook. In New Orleans, Lue would have an opportunity to coach one of the best young players in the NBA in Zion Williamson.
Lue coached the Cleveland Cavaliers for three-plus seasons, including their LeBron James-led championship team in 2015-16. He has drawn widespread head coaching interest around the NBA, so it is only a matter of time before he gets another job. It would be tough to imagine him turning down the Clippers, but there are multiple enticing opportunities out there at the moment.
The New Orleans Pelicans are in the hunt for a new head coach.
As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez of ESPN, the Pelicans have fired coach Alvin Gentry after five seasons.
The decision to move on from Gentry doesn’t come as an enormous shock. He had made the playoffs just once in five seasons, falling short this year after going 2-6 in bubble play. In addition, the Pelicans brought in a new basketball operations department last season headed by David Griffin. That group did not hire Gentry, but inherited him, making his position somewhat tenuous unless he brought quick success.
The Pelicans’ job should be of major interest to head coaching candidates, as they have a good young core led by last year’s top pick Zion Williamson. We have already heard of two fairly big names who were linked to the role even before Gentry’s dismissal.
The New Orleans Pelicans may or may not make a coaching change this offseason, but it sounds like they have some names in mind if they do go in another direction.
Current coach Alvin Gentry has one year remaining on his contract, and the Pelicans may not see the 65-year-old as the right long-term fit to help the organization build around Zion Williamson. With that in mind, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, executive vice president David Griffin is eyeing Clippers assistant Ty Lue and Lakers assistant Jason Kidd as possible replacements.
Griffin has ties to both coaches. Kidd played for the Phoenix Suns while Griffin worked for the organization and has impressed as a Lakers assistant. Lue and Griffin won a championship together with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Pelicans even reportedly tried to make Lue Gentry’s lead assistant last offseason.
There are plenty of reasons why the Pelicans job would be a desirable one. Griffin is an accomplished roster builder, while the prospect of coaching Williamson would be an exciting one for any potential head coach. Expect it to be a hot job opening if it does become available.
The New Orleans Pelicans were screwed on a missed shot clock violation in their overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.
The game was tied at 93 in the final seconds and the Nets had the ball. Spencer Dinwiddie missed a shot that went off the backboard and did not hit the rim. A shot clock violation should have been called, giving the Pelicans a possession. Instead, nothing was called, and New Orleans scrambled to heave up a shot because the clock kept running.
The game went to overtime tied at 93, and Brooklyn went on to win 108-101.
So why couldn’t the Pelicans get a review? Officials ruled the ball hit the rim and that there wasn’t a shot clock violation.
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry was frustrated at the lack of a review.
New Orleans shot a dismal 34.3 percent on the game and has now slipped to 6-22 on the season. Blown calls like that are not helping their efforts.
The New Orleans Pelicans have — somewhat predictably — begun to fall apart now that Anthony Davis is no longer with the team, and that may lead to them trading another star veteran in the coming weeks.
The Pelicans are now open to trading Jrue Holiday, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports. Aside from Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and JJ Redick, they are apparently open to moving any player in the right deal.
New Orleans has lost 12 straight games to fall to 6-21 on the season. If they think it’s going to take them a few years to rebuild around Williamson and Ingram, trading Holiday makes sense. He’s been an important part of their team in recent years and is averaging an impressive 19.4 points, 6.8 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game, but he is 29 and making more than $25 million this season and next season. Holiday holds a player option on his contract for 2021-22.
The Pelicans were hoping the additions of Williamson, Ingram and Lonzo Ball could help keep them competitive without Davis, but that has not panned out. They are arguably the worst team in the NBA, though that could change when Williamson eventually makes his regular season debut.
The NBA offseason was one for the ages. A crazy amount of top-end talent changed teams, either by trades or free agency decisions. Six of the 15 players to make All-NBA teams last season are now part of new franchises. The draft has passed, so have many trades, and teams are finally starting to get settled as they prepare for the upcoming season. That means we can assess which teams have improved the most entering the 2019-20 seasons.
Here are seven teams who have done the most to improve themselves over the course of the NBA offseason.
7. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers weathered Victor Oladipo’s absence fairly well last season, winning 48 games and finishing fifth in the conference. Oladipo should be back this season, and the Pacers have made moves to improve the supporting cast around him. The big move was adding restricted free agent Malcolm Brogdon from the Milwaukee Bucks. Other additions like Jeremy Lamb and T.J. Warren will provide forward depth. With Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner already holding down the frontcourt and Oladipo expected back sometime around the start of 2020, they’ll be a formidable bunch, despite the loss of Bojan Bogdanovic.