As for the other finalists, their names have not been revealed specifically, but from the rumor mill in recent days, there’s a strong indication that they probably sit among the following pool of candidates: Jamahl Mosley, Will Weaver, Darvin Ham, David Vanterpool, Jason Kidd, Kenny Atkinson and Dan Craig.
Brian Windhorst linked all but the last three during an appearance yesterday on ESPN’s The Jump, and he was extremely high on Mosley, mentioning him in almost the same breath as Lue and Van Gundy. (Fast forward to just after the eight-minute mark in the linked video below for Pelicans coverage.)
“Ty Lue is at the top of their list,” Windhorst said. “Now, David Griffin, the general manager, and Ty Lue won a title together in Cleveland. There’s a lot of reasons why Ty Lue and Zion Williamson will be an interesting match, but it’s not clear where Ty Lue is prioritizing this job right now.”
Lue had been linked to the openings with the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers before they were filled by Steve Nash and Doc Rivers, respectively, and he remains among the favorites to grab the reins with the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers.
Either way, Windhorst expects the Pelicans to wait on Lue to make a final decision on his future before they name their next head coach.
“But I have to just be honest with you, they are waiting on Ty Lue. For them to be able to hire Tyronn Lue, a guy who Houston, L.A., even Brooklyn potentially — he was on their list before they settled on Steve Nash, Philadelphia, to be able to hire a championship coach who has excellent relationships with veteran players and has shown he can work with young guys, that would be a home run hire for them. And frankly, they’re just going to have to wait because they’re not in pole position here.”
Personally, I am excited to hear Mosley and Weaver sit high up on Griffin’s board (and just as he did last week, Windhorst mentions Weaver’s name for either head coach or an assistant position in New Orleans), but reading that Van Gundy has made it to the final round of interviews with the Pelicans is a fantastic new development.
The Detroit years were a dampener on his legacy; however, Van Gundy did advance to the playoffs eight times in 12 seasons as an NBA head coach and his Orlando teams were considered innovative for surrounding perennial All-NBA Dwight Howard with four floor-spacers. In addition, there might not be a stronger advocate of Van Gundy’s than JJ Redick, who has one more year left on his contract in New Orleans. And who can’t get onboard with a coach that tells his players to “form a fucking wall” with a tenth of a second left in regulation and a one-point game?
Stay tuned for more news soon as the search for the Pelicans next head coach seems to be drawing to a conclusion.