Stan Van Gundy

Pelicans Notes: Ball, Bledsoe, Adams, Holiday, Ingram, Williamson

The Pelicans won’t be choosing between Lonzo Ball and recently-acquired Eric Bledsoe as their starting point guard, according to executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin. New Orleans’ top executive envisions that they’ll form the starting backcourt, Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets. The Pelicans had a similar setup last season, when Ball and Jrue Holiday shared ballhandling duties. The Pelicans acquired Bledsoe from the Bucks and center Steven Adams from the Thunder, along with draft picks, in a four-team deal that sent Holiday to Milwaukee.

New head coach Stan Van Gundy said that Griffin has prioritized toughness and competitiveness at a very high level, and Bledsoe and Adams fit that mold, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Times Picayune tweets.

Griffin and Van Gundy dropped some interesting tidbits during their Monday press conference:

  • Griffin had pursued Adams for a very long time, according to Kushner (Twitter link). Griffin was impressed with Adams since meeting him prior to the 2013 draft. Adams, who was selected with the No. 12 pick that year, received a two-year, $35MM extension as part of the four-team deal.
  • The front office wanted to do right by Holiday by trading him to a title contender, Lopez notes (Twitter link). Griffin said Holiday’s career timeline to compete for a championship differed somewhat from the Pelicans’ timeline.
  • Brandon Ingram‘s five-year contract doesn’t include a player option, Lopez adds in another tweet, but there is a trade bonus. Ingram officially signed the $158.25MM contract on Monday.
  • Zion Williamson will not have any restrictions heading into training camp, according to Van Gundy. The coach anticipates the early days of camp will look different because they haven’t played as much pickup due to COVID-19 restrictions and a short offseason (Twitter link).
  • The team’s disappointing showing in the Orlando restart convinced Griffin the team needed more “elite competitors” and didn’t have “enough of a work ethic identity,” Kushner relays (Twitter link).

Southwest Notes: Silas, Stan Van Gundy, Cuban

Shortly before the Rockets hired Stephen Silas as their head coach, the longtime assistant called his father, former NBA player and coach Paul Silas, to say he expected to be passed over again, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. More than a month had passed since the younger Silas was first mentioned as a candidate to replace Mike D’Antoni, and he had become discouraged by the long wait.

“He said he wasn’t going to get this job,” Paul said. “I told him it was going to happen. I knew it was going to happen for him. They wanted to get him. He said, “I don’t think it’s going to happen, Dad.’ I said, ‘It is.’ And it did. I’m just happy as heck.”

Stephen has been around the NBA all his life, starting as a child when his All-Star father brought him into locker rooms. He landed his first job in the league in 1999 as a scout with the Hornets when Paul was their head coach. He later joined his father’s staff at age 27, becoming the league’s youngest assistant coach, and has worked in the NBA for the past 20 years.

“I thought it would happen because I had him as (an assistant) coach and he was doing a great job,” Paul said. “I just knew it was going to happen. He did a great job, I tell you. He really did. And he’ll do a great job now.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Stan Van Gundy is thrilled about the roster he’s inheriting as the new head coach of the Pelicans, according to Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com. Although New Orleans is coming off a disappointing season, there’s plenty of talent on hand, led by Most Improved Player Brandon Ingram and No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson. “He’s one of those really tall, long guys who plays like a point guard, who can get to anywhere on the floor and score the ball,” Van Gundy said of Ingram. “I don’t even know the comparison for Zion Williamson. He’s unique in the way he plays, but this is a guy coming off an injury for most of the year that was able to be extremely productive and efficient. There’s just not people like that. There’s a lot to build around there.”
  • Van Gundy will have to adjust to the NBA’s new style to be successful in New Orleans, contends William Guillory of The Athletic. The Pelicans ranked in the top five in pace of play in the past three seasons, and Van Gundy has never had a team in the top 10 in that category during his 11 seasons as a head coach.
  • In an appearance on Etan Thomas’ “The Rematch,” Mark Cuban admits his worst move in 20 years of owning the Mavericks was letting Steve Nash leave in free agency, tweets Alex Kennedy of BasketballNews. “Not even close, it’s my biggest mistake ever,” Cuban said. “Nash hated me for a long time because of it. We’re good now.”

Bob Beyer Joining Stan Van Gundy In New Orleans

Kings assistant Bob Beyer will be part of Stan Van Gundy’s new coaching staff with the Pelicans, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Beyer previously worked with Van Gundy in both Orlando and Detroit.

Beyer, 58, who has been an NBA assistant since 2007, spent the past season in Sacramento after being hired last summer. In addition to the Magic and Pistons, he has also spent time on coaching staffs in Oklahoma City, Charlotte, Golden State and Toronto.

The Kings lost another assistant coach in July when Igor Kokoskov left to become head coach of Fenerbahce in the EuroLeague. That opening was filled by former Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry, who was replaced by Van Gundy.

Pelicans Notes: Young Talent, Redick, SVG, Free Agents

In his first press conference with his new team on Tuesday, Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy had high praise for forward Zion Williamson, the top pick in the 2019 draft, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

“He’s a multi-talented guy,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t look at him in any way as far as is he a four or a five. I’m not sure those labels matter when it comes to him.”

Van Gundy spoke highly of point guard Lonzo Ball, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft, as well.

“So I think as good as Lonzo is now, and he’s very good, I think that we can expect a good arc of improvement for him over the next few years,” Van Gundy opined.

The Pelicans’ new head coach also stressed emphasizing defense improvement for the club.

There’s more out of the Big Easy:

  • Veteran Pelicans guard J.J. Redick, who had played under Van Gundy while with the Magic, recommended the hire to Pelicans executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin. “I had mentioned to Griff back in August that I thought he’d be great for the job,” Redick said on his podcast The Old Man and the Three, as Andrew Lopez of ESPN relays (Twitter link).
  • With the hire of an experienced coach at the level of Van Gundy, the Pelicans are hopeful that their new head coach can optimize the potential of the team’s young talent, according to Scott Kushner of NOLA.com.
  • William Guillory of The Athletic assessed some ideal free agent candidates for the Pelicans in a new mailbag. With center Derrick Favors an unrestricted free agent this offseason, free agent veterans like Marc Gasol, Tristan Thompson, Meyers Leonard, and Aron Baynes could all be effective replacements should New Orleans opt to move on from Favors. Defensive-oriented Heat forward Jae Crowder is mentioned as another solid fit for the team to generally shore up its frontcourt depth.

Pelicans Notes: Van Gundy, Udoka, Lee, Redick

The hiring of Stan Van Gundy shows the sense of urgency within the Pelicans organization, William Guillory of The Athletic opines. Anything less than immediate playoff contention on a roster headed by Zion Williamson will be viewed as a failure, Guillory notes. Van Gundy would not have left his TV job for a rebuilding project and Pelicans executives will expect immediate results from their big-name hire, Guillory adds.

We have more on the Pelicans:

  • Ime Udoka and Charles Lee are potential additions to the Pelicans’ coaching staff, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports. Udoka was an assistant under Brett Brown with the Sixers last season after a seven-year stint with the Spurs. Lee has worked under Mike Budenholzer since the 2014/15 season, first with the Hawks and then with the Bucks.
  • The fact that Van Gundy can concentrate on coaching rather than wearing two hats fosters the belief he’ll be a success in New Orleans, according to Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Times Picayune. Van Gundy was a flop in Detroit largely due to his personnel decisions. Van Gundy’s gregarious personality was a key factor in the hire, as Pelicans executive David Griffin feels Van Gundy will be able to connect with a young roster and make players accountable.
  • J.J. Redick is unlikely to be traded with Van Gundy on the bench, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (hat tip to Sportando). Redick, who has one year and $13MM remaining on his contract, played for Van Gundy in Orlando.
  • If you didn’t get all the details on Van Gundy taking the coaching reins in New Orleans, we have them here.

Pelicans Hire Stan Van Gundy As Head Coach

OCTOBER 22: The Pelicans have made it official, announcing in a press release that they’ve hired Van Gundy as their new head coach.

“This opportunity was one that I was really attracted to due in large part to David Griffin’s record of putting together highly competitive, talented teams in a great family atmosphere,” Van Gundy said in a statement. “When I got into the interview process and had a chance to meet with Mrs. (Gayle) Benson, Dennis Lauscha, Griff, Trajan Langdon, Swin Cash and the Pelicans front office, it became clear how committed and invested they are to winning.

[RELATED: Stan Van Gundy: “Deep Down, I’m Always A Coach”]

“Stan’s track record of success as a head coach speaks for itself,” Griffin said in a statement of his own. “His ability to teach while building genuine relationships was one of his many strengths that drew us to him. We feel like we are hiring one of the most accomplished leaders and authentic human beings in the NBA.”


OCTOBER 21: Former NBA coach and current TNT analyst Stan Van Gundy has agreed to a deal that will make him the new head coach of the Pelicans, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Van Gundy will sign a four-year contract with New Orleans, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

“I’m excited to join a talented New Orleans Pelicans team,” Van Gundy wrote on Twitter. “It will be an honor to work with our players and to work for Mrs. (Gayle) Benson and David Griffin, Trajan Langdon, their staff and the great people of New Orleans. I can’t wait to talk to our players and get the process started.”

Van Gundy previously served as the head coach for the Heat, Magic, and Pistons, enjoying his most successful run in Orlando, where he led the Magic to a 259-135 (.657) record over five seasons and made the NBA Finals in 2009.

Van Gundy, who also had a winning record (112-73) in Miami, had a shakier experience in Detroit from 2014-18, compiling a 152-176 (.463) mark. However, he held a dual role with the Pistons, working as the team’s president of basketball operations in addition to his head coaching duties. With David Griffin in place as the head of basketball operations in New Orleans, Van Gundy will be free to focus solely on coaching in his new position.

As the Pelicans’ new head coach, Van Gundy will be tasked with developing a young core led by Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball. Assuming New Orleans doesn’t shake up its roster too drastically this fall, Van Gundy should also have veterans like Jrue Holiday and J.J. Redick in his lineup as he looks to lead the team back to the postseason for the first time since 2018.

The Pelicans, who dismissed Alvin Gentry following a disappointing showing at Walt Disney World in Orlando this summer, interviewed a total of nine candidates for their head coaching vacancy after gathering intel on several other candidates, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic.

A report last week indicated that the Pelicans were narrowing their search to four finalists, including Van Gundy and Tyronn Lue, who was later promoted by the Clippers. The other finalists weren’t identified, but SVG clearly stood out during the process, impressing Griffin, per Scott Kushner of The Times Picayune (Twitter link).

According to Guillory and Wojnarowski, Van Gundy’s winning track record and his ability to teach a young roster helped sell the Pelicans on hiring him. His personnel decisions in Detroit weren’t a factor the Pelicans considered, according to Wojnarowski, who adds that SVG’s history of building top defensive teams was a factor in New Orleans’ decision as well. Van Gundy’s teams ranked in the top half of the league in all but one of his 11 full seasons as a head coach, per ESPN.

With Van Gundy headed to New Orleans, only two of the nine NBA teams that have parted ways with a head coach this year have yet to make a hire — the Thunder and the Rockets. Stan’s brother Jeff Van Gundy is reportedly one of the leading candidates for the Houston job.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Stan Van Gundy: “Deep Down, I’m Always A Coach”

The Pelicans reached out to new head coach Stan Van Gundy shortly after he finished his broadcast duties in Orlando, writes Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report. Van Gundy left the Disney World campus after calling the seeding games and the first two rounds of the playoffs for TNT. Soon after, David Griffin, executive VP of basketball operations in New Orleans, contacted him to gauge his interest in coaching again.

Van Gundy held three meetings with Griffin, general manager Trajan Langdon, and vice president Swin Cash before receiving the job offer that he accepted today.

“I always knew that I had a desire to coach (again) if the situation was right,” Van Gundy said. “I wasn’t trying to get my name in on every job. I wasn’t calling my agent about every job. This one was one that I thought was a good fit on both sides, so I was very interested in it.

“I loved broadcasting. I was having a great time with it. A lot of people were helping me learn and try to get better, and I would have been fine and very, very happy if I had done that for the rest of my working life. But I guess deep down, I’m always a coach. When the right situation came, I was happy to be involved in it.”

New Orleans became the right situation because of a roster loaded with young talent, starting with rookie forward Zion Williamson, a potential franchise player. After missing the beginning of the season with an injury, Williamson was spectacular once he took the court, averaging 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in his 24 starts while playing just 27.8 minutes per game. He was one of the most eagerly anticipated rookies the league has seen in years, and Van Gundy gets the chance to develop his game for the future.

“That combination of size, quickness and explosive power, it really hasn’t come along,” he said. “People were trying to make the comparison to LeBron (James) or to Charles Barkley, and that’s probably as close as you’ll get. … What everybody notices is the big body and the great leaping ability, but he’s also got an incredible first step offensively and plays the game very unselfishly. He makes quick decisions, the ball leaves his hand quickly, so other guys can enjoy playing with him. He’s not a ball-stopper.”

Van Gundy’s first order of business will be to fill out his coaching staff in conjunction with the front office. He has already started calling Pelicans players and plans to meet with each of them soon.

It has been two-and-a-half years since Van Gundy was fired in Detroit, where he was also president of basketball operations. He admitted he wanted to get away from coaching at the time, but his experience at Disney World brought him back to it.

“The thing about being in the bubble is there was nothing else to do,” Van Gundy said. “So on days where we weren’t doing games, or even when you’re doing one game and there are four games total, you’re watching the other three. There’s nothing else to do. You’re at the hotel, and I don’t golf, so you’re just sitting in your room watching basketball and taking notes. So I think it helped increase my interest in getting back to coaching, watching all that stuff, and then it was great for ideas and to get my brain going.”

Southwest Notes: Rockets, Morey, Benson, Van Gundy

Former Rockets general manager Daryl Morey took out a full-page newspaper advertisement to thank the city of Houston, Rockets fans, James Harden, and more this past weekend.

Morey spent 14 years with the team and announced his plans to step down from the position last week. He was responsible for a number of major transactions during his time with the franchise — most notably in recent years — which includes acquiring All-Star Russell Westbrook and trading away Clint Capela.

“Thank you for an amazing 14 years. Your love, support and energy has meant the world to me,” Morey wrote. “My family and I came to Houston as yankees, nervous about how the city would welcome us and honored that [previous owner] Leslie Alexander had trusted me to help run a legendary franchise. I came into an organization with Hall of Fame players Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady already in place and a championship legacy built by Houston legends like Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler.

“Walking into work on the first day was exciting, daunting and inspiring. Soon enough, the nervousness washed away and we came to feel like adopted Texans. What followed was the most amazing 14 years of my life.”

Morey dedicated the final part of his ad to Harden, who he credits for ‘changing his life’ during their time together in Houston.

“An entire page could be dedicated just to James,” Morey wrote. “He not only transformed my life but also revolutionized the game of basketball — and continues to do so — like almost no one has before. The game is played differently because of James, and on every playground in the world, the next generation of talent is studying and imitating his game.”

There’s more out of the Southwest Division tonight:

  • Morey had a major impact on the NBA during his time with the Rockets, also causing some unintended consequences along the way, David Aldridge of The Athletic writes. Aldridge examines how Morey impacted players, teams and small-ball, particularly in his final years.
  • A man attempted to steal a car with Pelicans owner Gayle Benson sitting inside of it on October 10, as relayed by Ramon Antonio Vargas and Amie Just of Nola.com. The man aborted his plan after Benson screamed at him to leave the vehicle, fleeing the scene in a white Nissan Titan. “While she was very shaken at the time, she was unharmed and is doing fine,” Pelicans spokesman Greg Bensel said of Benson. “She wanted to send her sincere gratitude to the men and women of the New Orleans Police Department that responded so quickly and professionally.”
  • William Guillory of The Athletic ponders whether Stan Van Gundy could provide the structure and winning mentality the Pelicans crave. Van Gundy appears to be one of the finalists for New Orleans’ head coaching job, which was made vacant when the team fired Alvin Gentry in August.

Stan Van Gundy, Tyronn Lue Among Pelicans’ Finalists

Stan Van Gundy and Tyronn Lue are expected to be among the finalists for the Pelicans‘ head coaching job, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

According to Wojnarowski, Van Gundy is meeting with New Orleans team officials today, while Lue has a meeting set for later this week. The Pelicans are expected to identify a group of four finalists to replace Alvin Gentry, per Woj.

So far this year, we’ve heard Jeff Van Gundy linked to multiple NBA head coaching jobs – including the Clippers’ and Rockets’ openings – but there hadn’t been a whole lot of chatter about the possibility of his brother returning to the sidelines.

Stan Van Gundy previously served as the head coach for the Heat, Magic, and Pistons, enjoying his most successful run in Orlando, where he led the Magic to a 259-135 (.657) record over five seasons and made the NBA Finals in 2009.

Van Gundy had a shakier experience in Detroit from 2014-18, compiling a 152-176 (.463) record. However, he held a dual role with the Pistons, also working as the team’s president of basketball operations. Presumably, he wouldn’t be nearly as involved in personnel decisions if he were to be hired by New Orleans, freeing him up to focus on coaching.

As for Lue, he has long been viewed as a potential favorite for the Pelicans’ job, given his connection to executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin — the two men worked together in Cleveland. Lue is also very much in the mix for the Clippers‘ and Rockets‘ jobs, so it’s possible he’ll end up having to choose between two or more offers.

More On Clippers-Doc Rivers Breakup

The Clippers’ decision to part ways with Doc Rivers could be the riskiest coaching change in NBA history, Kevin Pelton of ESPN opines. The team is rolling the dice with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George potentially opting out and becoming unrestricted free agents after next season. L.A.’s collapse against the Nuggets can be attributed to poor shooting, Pelton adds, as the Clippers took higher percentage shots than the Nuggets but made substantially fewer of them.

We have more on Rivers and the Clippers:

  • The Clippers’ front office concluded that issues that had cropped up during the season surfaced under the stress of the playoffs, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports. That led to the assessment that Rivers had to be held accountable for the team’s collapse.
  • By severing ties with Rivers, the Clippers indeed are blaming him for their playoff flop, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated opines. Could Phil Jackson be the answer? Jackson is 75 but he’s had time to recharge his batteries and this wouldn’t be a long-term job anyway, Mannix notes.
  • Tyronn Lue and Jeff Van Gundy are reportedly two of the former head coaches the Clippers will consider. Dan Loumena of the Los Angeles Times speculates that the Clippers might also consider assistant coach Sam Cassell, Chauncey Billups, Mark Jackson, Stan Van GundyMike D’Antoni, Nate McMillan, Kenny Atkinson, Alvin Gentry, Jason Kidd and Becky Hammon.
  • Lue is the 3-2 favorite to get the job, according to Bet Online, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. Van Gundy is the second choice at 3-1 with Billups surprisingly listed as the third choice at 4-1.
  • Add the Rockets to the list of teams interested in Rivers, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The Pelicans and 76ers have already made contact.