Stan Van Gundy is out coaching the New Orleans Pelicans after just one season with the franchise, sources told ESPN on Wednesday morning.
Van Gundy and David Griffin, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations, have been in talks for weeks, according to sources.
New Orleans ended last season with a disappointing 31:41 and did not make it into the Western Conference play-in tournament.
The Pelicans are expected to return to replace Van Gundy among a few candidates from a year ago, including assistants Jacque Vaughn and Ime Udoka (Brooklyn), Charles Lee (Milwaukee) and Jason Kidd (Lakers), sources told ESPN.
During the Exit interviews on May 17, Van Gundy told reporters it was a difficult year as the league season passed amid COVID-19 logs.
“It was a tough year personally because when I took the job we didn’t know when the training camp or anything would start,” said Van Gundy. “I hadn’t really given much thought to a shortened training camp, a shortened season and COVID logs. That was really, really difficult from a personal point of view. For me to go to Detroit and have my kids around and I can’t “see you, stuff that restricts people who come to visit us and stuff like that. It was difficult on a personal level.
“But at the basketball level, I thought this was a great situation in basketball, and it’s better than what I thought. I wasn’t happy with the results. I wasn’t happy with myself on some basketball issues.” . But for the job as a whole, it’s even better than I expected, and I expected it to be good. “
Van Gundy and the Pelicans had a season of ups and downs that culminated in yet another missed playoff trip for New Orleans. New Orleans had hoped Van Gundy would build a defensive presence, but the results were far from there. The Pelicans finished 23rd in the defensive score (113.3) and 25th in the opposing 3-point score (38.0).
The Pelicans improved from 29th in the defensive standings (116.3) before the All-Star Break to seventh (110.4) afterwards, but the team’s offensive standings went in the same direction. The Pelicans finished sixth (115.6) before the break and 21st (110.4) afterwards.
New Orleans lacked consistency throughout the season. When things finally looked to be going in the right direction, injuries to Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Zion Williamson put the team back on track. The Pelicans have also struggled in tight games this season, going in games with 3-10 points that were decided by three points or less. They lost 14 games in the league by a double-digit margin.
“We were a very young, evolving basketball team. We have players with incredible talent, but we still don’t have the will to win,” said David Griffin, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations, ending season 17.
“We know that to a certain extent. We know that this is a process and it takes time. But we also have to look at ourselves, front office, coaches, players. Does what we do work? Do we do enough for the group To win? That will be our focus. “
New Orleans got off to a 4-2 start but headed south quickly. The Pelicans lost eight of their next nine games and never climbed to .500 again for the remainder of the season. Their 31:41 result was just a one-game improvement over their record of 30:42 in the shortened 2019-20 season, after which the team sacked coach Alvin Gentry.
Van Gundy joins Nate Björkgren as coach who left their teams after being hired before the season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the fifth time in the last 30 seasons that multiple teams have changed coach who was only in the franchise for one season.
New Orleans was Van Gundy’s fourth coaching post as NBA head coach and his first since being suspended in the previous two seasons. Van Gundy had success on his first two stops in Miami (0.605 percent profit) and Orlando (0.657). He even led the Magic to a final appearance in the Eastern Conference.
However, Van Gundy only had one winning season in four years with the Detroit Pistons from 2014 to 2018. Van Gundy, 61, has a career record of 554-425 (.566).