Just last week our own Kevin Barrios wrote on the potential head coaching candidacy of San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon. The idea that the New Orleans Pelicans would be searching for a new head coach this spring was met with derision on Pelicans Twitter, a fleeting fantasy.
About that. Sean Deveney reported earlier this afternoon that Gentry is indeed coaching for his job down the stretch and that the Pelicans must demonstrate “significant progress with this roster as it stands” that a move at head coach is not just possible, but likely. General manager Dell Demps appears to be on more stable ground (his job performance as owner whisper far outpaces his performance as a GM) than Gentry but both could find themselves on the way out as early as April.
Deveney also mentions a limited market this spring with fewer standout candidates than before. It is important to mention that when the Pelicans hired Gentry he was considered by many national writers to be a home run hire and one of the most qualified potential candidates.
Source: Pelicans must close with "significant progress" to save coach Alvin Gentry https://t.co/SYZvOlslVy— Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) March 15, 2017
Even more interesting is that in his report Deveney discusses a broader role for a potential new head coach.
One issue in replacing Gentry could be the lack of top candidates on the coaching market now. Gentry has one more year on this contract, worth around $3.3 million, and hasn’t really gotten a chance to coach a full, healthy Pelicans team. If the Pelicans were to make a change, speculation is that the team would prefer to bring in a combination team president/coach. There are few coaches on the market who would warrant a dual job, though.
Who might the Pelicans know who wants that kind of control? None other than former head coaching candidate Jeff Van Gundy. Van Gundy, along with Gentry, were the only candidates to take multiple interviews two years ago. Van Gundy has also reportedly spoke to the Minnesota Timberwolves about their head coaching position that eventually went to Tom Thibodeau.
Beyond Van Gundy it’s difficult to determine what candidates would be considered for a dual role. John Calipari rumors are inevitable with both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins on the roster. Monty Williams has the requisite head coaching and front office experience but a return to New Orleans, especially if Dell Demps is retained, seems far-fetched.
I’ll avoid getting on my Van Gundy soapbox for now, but it is good to hear that at least the possibility of change is on the table for the Pelicans. Who do you want them to hire, or should they hold onto Alvin Gentry for another go around? Let us know in the comments.