Former NBA head coach Stan Van Gundy met with the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday and has emerged as one of four finalists for the club’s head coaching vacancy, ESPN reported Tuesday.
The report also said that Tyronn Lue, who led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2016 NBA championship, will meet with the Pelicans this week as one of the four favorites for the job. The report did not name the other two finalists.
The Pelicans fired Alvin Gentry in August after the club failed to make the NBA playoffs while concluding the regular season in the bubble near Orlando. New Orleans finished the season 30-42 (going 2-6 in the bubble), good for 13th in the Western Conference. Nonetheless, the Pelicans have perhaps the most intriguing coaching vacancy right now thanks to young talent such as 2019 No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson, 20, and NBA Most Improved Player Brandon Ingram, 23.
Van Gundy, 61, has 12 years of experience as a head coach: three years in Miami, five in Orlando and four in Detroit. His most successful run came with the Magic, whom he led to a 259-135 mark from 2007-12 while guiding the team to the playoffs each season. The 2008-09 Magic advanced to the NBA Finals.
Overall, Van Gundy is 523-384 in his career with eight playoff appearances in his 12 seasons. His last season was 2017-18, when he led the Pistons to a 39-43 record. Van Gundy was also president of basketball operations in Detroit.
One thing that could work in Lue’s favor is his experience with Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin. The latter was the general manager of the Cavaliers when Lue led the team to the 2016 NBA title.
Lue was 211-128 over parts of four seasons (including two full seasons) in Cleveland. The Cavs made the NBA Finals in each of his first three seasons with the team, with the championship coming in his third year. The following offseason, LeBron James left Cleveland for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Lue was fired after an 0-6 start with the Cavaliers.
Lue spent this season as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers, and he is believed to be a strong contender for the head coach openings with the Clippers and the Houston Rockets.