Clippers Coach Could Become Zion Williamson and Pelicans Next Head Coach

NBA Playoffs

Getty Zion Williamson and the Pelicans will be fighting for a playoff spot in Orlando.

On Saturday, the New Orleans Pelicans announced the firing of coach, Alvin Gentry after five seasons with the team.

During his tenure in New Orleans, Gentry compiled a 175-225 coaching record and only guided the Pels to the NBA Playoffs once.

Gentry’s firing came as no surprise as the Pelicans finished this season with a 30-42 record and a 13th place finish in the NBA’s Western Conference.

“I’m grateful for and appreciative of Alvin’s commitment to the organization,” Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement.

“Most importantly, the local community. The City of New Orleans is richer because of his presence here. These types of moves are often about fit and timing, and we believe now is the right time to make this change and bring in a new voice.”

So what’s next?

Zion Williamson is a rising star in the NBA, Brandon Ingram is a potential NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Award winner for his play this season and despite recent off-season trade rumors involving Lonzo Ball, he is a triple double threat.

Development is a buzz word in the NBA these days. Some names currently being tossed around could fill that void.

Current New Orleans Pelicans associate head coach Chris Finch is believed to get an interview. Finch was previously an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets and the Houston Rockets.

Current Brooklyn Nets interim head coach Jacque Vaughn is believed to be on the Pelicans’ list of names should he be fired by the Nets by season’s end. Vaughn’s Nets head coaching predecessor, Kenny Atkinson is also believed to be on the Pelicans’ coaching wish-list.

Former Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen may also get a look. Boylen accepted the Bulls’ coaching job December 2018, but was fired by the Bulls after posting a career record of 39-84 (.317), which ranks him the second worst coach in the team’s franchise history for coaches with a minimum of 100 games coached.

Mark Jackson is also believed to be given consideration. In three seasons, Jackson, 55, went 121-109 and developed All Stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson who’d later win multiple championships under current Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr.

Other names considered are Wes Unsled Jr. & Brian Keefe.

Ty Lue is also another name being considered. Locally in New Orleans, the belief is that Lue could be the favorite to become the next head coach of Pelicans and it is the belief by some that the job is Lue’s to turn down.

Currently, Lue is an assistant coach of the Kawhi Leonard and Paul George-led Los Angeles Clippers under head coach Doc Rivers.

Currently the Clippers are in second place in the NBA’s Western Conferece with a compiled record of 49-23. The Clippers will begin their Round 1 NBA Playoffs series against the Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis-led Dallas Mavericks on Monday.

Lue last held a head coaching position in the NBA in 2018 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Lue compiled a 128-83 record during coaching career with Cleveland Cavaliers & began coaching during 2015 season when David Blatt was relieved of coaching duties as he failed to connect with the team.

Lue guided Cleveland to an NBA Championship in 2016 with the help of the big three component of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving on their roster.

Popular dialogue suggests that Jason Kidd could be considered.

Kidd is currently an assistant coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and did interview for the New York Knicks’ coaching vacancy.

Tom Thibodeau ended up filling that vacancy.

Kidd has had two prior coaching jobs with the Brooklyn Nets & Milwaukee Bucks, where he complied a 183-190 coaching record.

“Jason has a really unique mind to the game of basketball and his perspective of interacting with players and coaching,” Lakers assistant coach, Phil Handy told me on a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast.

“He’s got a unique mindset approaching the game and how he looks at the game from a player’s side and a coach’s side so, being able to see and listen and learn how he thinks and see the game, that’s been big for me because I’m always trying to grow and learn and you know, continue to see how other people view the game and their stratagies so, just his mindset man, that has been really big for me; how he approaches the game from a player’s standpoint and a coach’s standpoint. Having being somebody that played in the league for a long time and then went right into head coaching.

Handy says Kidd has a desire to become a head coach again when the timing is right. “I also liked what Jason said to me one day that was really profound and that when he retired, he went straight into being a head coach, right,” he said.

“And so he said to me, ‘Phil man, I just want to learn to be a good assistant coach. I didn’t have the opportunity to do that in Brooklyn when I took that job. So, I didn’t know what assistant coaches do. I want to really learn it, kill it and I think that it will help me be a better head coach.”… and that was profound in that he really wanted to go through that process.'”


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