Willie Green Expected to be Hired as New Head Coach of New Orleans Pelicans

Willie Green, a 12-year NBA veteran who spent the majority of his playing career with the Philadelphia 76ers before transitioning to a coaching role, is reportedly expected to be hired by the New Orleans Pelicans as their head coach according to The Athletic.

For the past two seasons, Green has been an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns (who are currently battling for the NBA Championship), and before that, was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors for three seasons.

While Green would be one of the younger head coaches in the League at 39—trailing only the Thunder’s Mark Daigneault (35) and the Grizzlies Taylor Jenkins (36)—he brings invaluable experience as a veteran assistant coach, and also a familiarity with the Pelicans organizations, as he was a player in New Orleans for one season in 2010-11 when they were still named the Hornets.

The Pelicans are in a polarizing position; the team is chock-full of ultra-talented young players, such as Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, and a bevy of draft picks from the Anthony Davis trade. However, under previous head coach Stan Van Gundy, the team was not able to put it all together and reach the playoffs, instead of finishing a disappointing 31-41.

Before Green, the head coach position for the Pelican has been a carousel—Green will be the third head coach for the franchise in the past 12 months. Van Gundy’s departure after one season was a bit controversial; reports had circulated around the League that he was forced out due to Williamson’s family being vexed at him and his coaching style. However, Van Gundy has since dispelled these rumors and asserted his exit was a mutual departure between him and the team.

Now, the job is likely Green’s, and he will be tasked with making sure this young and talented team can put it all together.