Last week, Stan Van Gundy said he and David Griffin “weren’t on the same page” in New Orleans. Tuesday, he elaborated on their philosophical differences. In an appearance on the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, Van Gundy said one of Griffin’s main concerns was the “atmosphere” around the team. Van Gundy said he was most concerned by what happened in between the lines.
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“I felt that the focus should be on what went on on the court,” Van Gundy said. “What was good. What was bad. All of that. I think Griff was concerned with the atmosphere around the team and the happiness of people and things like that. I think that was probably the biggest difference. If I would’ve gone into a meeting and somebody were to say, ‘Hey, you were 31-41, and that’s not good enough,’ I have no problem with that. That’s what we sign up for in this business. Regardless of circumstances, that’s what we sign up for in this business. But that’s not what it came down to or what I heard.”
Van Gundy said he thinks he and the Pelicans will be happier in the long run that their marriage dissolved so quickly. “It will be better for everybody,” Van Gundy said. “You certainly need alignment between your coach and your front office. It’ll be better for everybody, I think. My wife and I will move on with our life and be very, very happy.”
“I know this, regardless of what happened in that regard, Zion’s no coach killer. He’s a guy who is gonna help you win a lot of games. He plays the game the right way. One of the things I’ll miss is the opportunity to continue to coach him. He’s so unique in the way that he plays the game and the things that he can do, it really gets your mind spinning as a coach and you have a lot of possibilities in what you can do with him. That was fun to explore. I’m happy with what we did with Zion. I think we helped him. How anyone else felt about that would be up to them.”
“I don’t know anything about that,” Van Gundy said. “In my mind, I liked coaching Zion. I had a good relationship with him. I had no problem. I think we elevated his platform that we gave him. We put him in different situations, had him handling the ball a lot, playing a lot of point guard. I think we did some good things with him. “If they were unhappy, I didn’t hear about it. Zion was unhappy with us not winning more games, but Zion never expressed to me any of that. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t unhappy, it’s possible that they were unhappy with me and that’s what led to the change.”
“I would say it was joint in this sense: I think you can understand this, I don’t want to be somewhere they don’t want me. And they didn’t want me. I wasn’t at that point going to fight to try to stay there,” Van Gundy said. “When I left Detroit, my owner there who I really liked Tom Gores, also said it was a mutual decision. I said yeah, ‘Tom asked me to leave so I left.’ I guess that’s mutual.”
Parting ways with Stan Van Gundy after just one season is not the biggest problem facing the New Orleans Pelicans. They have been unable to put together the right elements to make rising star Zion Williamson and his family happy, and multiple sources have told The Athletic that certain family members want Williamson on another team.
For months, sources from all NBA corners have pointed to the Pelicans as a heap of dysfunction. There was a growing unease between Van Gundy and his players, and Van Gundy and the New Orleans front office, which came to a head Wednesday with the veteran coach and organization agreeing to part ways with three years left on his contract. Most of the attention, however, from numerous sources across the league, has centered on Williamson’s family members’ thinly veiled unhappiness with the Pelicans, and whether those feelings seeped into the player’s own views.
The Pels made changes to their support staff to fit Williamson’s wishes over the offseason, and he returned in much better physical condition. But for most of this season, certain Williamson family members voiced displeasure with the organization. Among the targets of their criticism was Van Gundy, who they felt was too rigid and demanding as head coach, but also with the organization, which they claim did not live up to what they felt should be the standard for a star like Williamson. Numerous opposing league executives had heard the complaints, and they were confirmed by Pelicans officials.
On a late-season bus trip, Van Gundy was venting frustrations to an assistant after a loss. According to Van Gundy, someone who overheard the conversation reported back to Griffin that Van Gundy was so frustrated that he might not return. Also, leading up to the final weekend of the regular season, a meeting between Van Gundy and Griffin did not go well — with dozens of sources chatting about it after it happened.
Sources indicated that Brandon Ingram, an All-Star under Gentry, was not a fan of Van Gundy’s coaching style. Ingram openly talked about the way Van Gundy used Williamson and him in certain offensive sets and how they rarely worked together to get each other easier looks.
Jake Madison: David Griffin says the decision to part ways with SVG was “wrought in our philosophical differences in how we get to our next step.” Let’s hope he clarifies what those philosophical differences are
Scott Kushner: David Griffin said he thinks SVG and his staff did a remarkable job and that he’s a tremendous basketball coach. Admits his comments today will be incongruous.
The New Orleans Pelicans and Stan Van Gundy have mutually agreed to part ways, the team announced today.
“On behalf of Mrs. Gayle Benson and the Pelicans organization, I would like to thank Stan for the integrity and professionalism that he demonstrated during his time in New Orleans, as well as the commitment and work ethic he brought to our team,” said Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. “This was a difficult decision as I have tremendous respect for Stan both personally and professionally, but we agreed it is in the best interest of our team to move forward in a different direction. We wish Stan, Kim and their family all the best in the future.”
The decision came on the heels of a disappointing 31-41 season in which Van Gundy failed to turn around New Orleans’ defense and struggled to connect with a roster full of players who are in their early 20s.
Van Gundy was a polar opposite from previous coach Alvin Gentry. Van Gundy emphasized defense, became visibly upset any time the Pelicans turned the ball over on fast breaks, and was more concerned with Xs and Os minutiae than personal relationships. Many players did not adapt well to such an abrupt change. “It was definitely different,” reserve wing Josh Hart said. “It wasn’t the easiest transition.”
Will Guillory: Can confirm that Stan Van Gundy is out as Pelicans coach, first reported by ESPN. Sources say Pelicans assistant Teresa Weatherspoon is a serious candidate to be the next head coach in New Orleans.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources with @Andrew Lopez: After one season, Stan Van Gundy is out as the New Orleans Pelicans coach.
Adrian Wojnarowski: In search for a replacement, Pelicans are expected to circle back among some candidates from a year ago, including assistants Jacque Vaughn and Ime Udoka (Brooklyn), Charles Lee (Milwaukee) and Jason Kidd (Lakers), sources tell ESPN.
Stan Van Gundy, whom the Detroit Pistons parted with on Monday, is interested in coaching in the NBA again if he finds the right fit. “I’d like to coach in the right situation,” Van Gundy told the Orlando Sentinel in a text message. “[I’m] not interested in a front office role. We plan to spend the summer in Michigan and move back to Lake Mary probably in October.”
Rod Beard: #Pistons SVG tells The News: “Tom (Gores) was looking to make change and I was willing to make pretty significant changes but even that wasn’t going to be enough. Tom decided at the end of the day that he needed to change the structure and the leadership.”
Rod Beard: #Pistons SVG tells The Detroit News: “What it really comes down to is 37 wins and 39 wins and missing the playoffs twice. You can talk about a lot of other things, but if we’re in the playoffs, we’re not doing any of this and we’re moving on. We just didn’t win enough games.”
Vincent Ellis: SVG tells Free Press: “To not get a chance to coach a full season after the (Blake Griffin) move we made is disappointing to me. I’m not bitter and I was treated well. I’ve got no complaints.” #Pistons.
As president of basketball operations and coach, Van Gundy had full authority on player personnel and staffing, but Gores had suggested changes — including ones related to general manager Jeff Bower — that Van Gundy resisted, sources said.
Rod Beard: #Pistons Reggie Jackson on SVG departure: “I was stunned by the whole thing… it’s difficult right now to take the whole thing in.”
Ira Winderman: Per Pistons owner Tom Gores on Stan Van Gundy: “We have decided that this change is necessary to take our basketball organization to the next level. . . . Over the past two seasons our team has not progressed, and we decided that a change is necessary to regain our momentum.”
NerdOnPistons: BREAKING: #Pistons are moving on from Stan Van Gundy, according to source.
The Detroit Pistons have parted ways with president of basketball operations and coach Stan Van Gundy, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Van Gundy had one year and $7 million remaining on his original five-year deal.
Rod Beard: Press release from #Pistons says SVG wanted to come back to finish out next season. Gores: “Stan is a competitor and he wanted to finish the job.” He retooled a roster that we think can be very competitive in the East.”
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August 2, 2021 | 7:49 am EDT Update
There is a strong possibility that Howard returns for a third go-around with the Lakers. Howard won a title with the Lakers in 2020, but he bolted to the 76ers last season. Now, there appears to be interest on both sides to have Howard back for his physical and defensive play. Howard, 35, averaged 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds in 17.3 minutes last season in Philadelphia, his 17th in the NBA.
Rob Schaefer: Zach LaVine on what he’s conveyed to Bulls about a potential extension. If Bulls decide to take route to cap space, pursuing upgrades through free agency or renegotiating + extending LaVine’s current contract are two options on table.
Barry Jackson: ESPN reports tonight that New Orleans and Dallas – two Lowry suitors – have begun to look elsewhere for point guards. The Dragic/Achiuwa package should get this done for Lowry barring any late issues; Achiuwa hasn’t yet been informed because talks can’t begin until 6 p.m. Monday.
Donatas Urbonas: Ignas Brazdeikis will play for the Orlando Magic in the NBA Summer League, per sources. Brazdeikis averaged 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2 assists in 8 NBA games with Orlando last season.
Rob Schaefer: Zach LaVine on keeping up with Bulls’ free agency from Tokyo: “I should have a good idea what’s going on. I take that very serious, keep up to date with what’s going on back home, but obviously still get my rest cause we got a game tomorrow. One way or another I’ll find out.”
August 2, 2021 | 1:19 am EDT Update
“It looks like [Kawhi] is expected to re-sign with the Clippers, but sources informed me that he will listen to other teams.” @ChrisBHaynes on Kawhi Leonard’s free agency