The New Orleans Pelicans opted to part ways with Stan Van Gundy after just one season together.
Although the move was abrupt, it was not a particularly shocking one.
For months, rumors ran rampant about the way he had lost the locker room and rubbed players the wrong way.
In fact, one specific error pertaining to Pelicans star Zion Williamson was viewed as the death knell in his New Orleans stint.
This week Van Gundy appeared on the “STUpodity” podcast and got extremely honest about the role Williamson played in his departure.
“I know this, regardless of what happened in that regard, Zion’s no coach killer,” Van Gundy said.
“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.”
Van Gundy was then asked point black about reports that Williamson’s family and friends were unhappy with his handling of the young star.
“If they were unhappy, I didn’t hear about it,” he replied.
“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.”
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
The Pelicans have a big offseason ahead of them. Currently, the team is being linked to a massive, franchise-changing trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. If that were to happen, it could change the trajectory of the organization immediately.
Beyond that, the Pelicans have been linked to a fairly significant trade with the Miami Heat and still need to make a final decision on what to do about Lonzo Ball.
Buckle in if you’re a fan – this promises to be a crazy offseason in New Orleans.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.