Willie Green, Charles Lee Among Top Candidates To Coach Pelicans

Suns assistant Willie Green and Bucks assistant Charles Lee are “prominent” candidates in the Pelicans‘ head coaching search, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Earlier in the process, Nets assistant Jacque Vaughn was considered the frontrunner to replace Stan Van Gundy as New Orleans’ new head coach, but he withdrew from consideration last week for family reasons. Now, it appears the Pelicans have their eye on two other veteran assistant coaches. New Orleans’ own assistant, Fred Vinson, has also interviewed for the position, Stein notes.

A former NBA shooting guard, Green transitioned into the coaching ranks in 2016, working with the Warriors as an assistant for three seasons before making the move to Phoenix in 2019. He has been on Monty Williams‘ staff for the last two years and has generated some buzz as an up-and-coming head coaching candidate, having also talked to the Wizards and Magic about their vacancies.

Lee is also a former shooting guard, having played at Bucknell from 2002-06 and then in international leagues until 2010. After joining his alma mater as an assistant coach in 2012, he was hired as part of Mike Budenholzer‘s staff in Atlanta in 2014. Lee followed Budenholzer to Milwaukee in 2018 and – like Green – is now receiving head coaching interest from multiple teams — he’s said to be one of the Wizards’ finalists.

Green and Lee are set to face one another in the NBA Finals, beginning on Tuesday night.

While many candidates have been linked to the Wizards’ and Magic’s head coaching jobs, things have been relatively quiet on the Pelicans front. Besides the names mentioned above, Pelicans assistant Teresa Weatherspoon has been the only other contender confirmed to be in the mix, and David Griffin downplayed the chances of her being promoted. It’s possible New Orleans’ search has been fairly narrow, but it’s just as likely that a number of meetings have gone unreported.

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