The New Orleans Pelicans are moving forward on a deal to hire Phoenix Suns assistant Willie Green as head coach, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Green, a 12-year NBA veteran, has been an assistant with the Suns for the past two seasons and spent the previous three seasons on the Golden State Warriors coaching staff. Green also has prior New Orleans experience, having played one season with the team in 2010-11, when they were still the Hornets.
At 39, Green would become the NBA’s third-youngest coach behind Mark Daigneault (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Taylor Jenkins (36) of the Memphis Grizzlies.
As a player, Green made the playoffs in seven of his 12 seasons, including his only year at New Orleans, one of only seven trips to the playoffs the team has made in franchise history.
He would replace Stan Van Gundy, who left the Pelicans after just one season.
The Pelicans went 31-41 in 2020-21, a disappointing result after the season began with playoff aspirations. In the end, New Orleans didn’t even make it to the tournament play in of the Western Conference.
The immediate future looks bright in New Orleans with two young All-Stars in Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. The Pelicans also have the No. 10 pick in the upcoming draft and a plethora of future picks from the trades that sent Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers and Jrue Holiday to the Milwaukee Bucks.