Stan Van Gundy speaks out on Pelicans exit, Zion Williamson rumors: 'Zion's no coach killer'

The Pelicans described their break up with Stan Van Gundy as a mutual settlement, however the former New Orleans coach does not really feel that characterization is completely correct.

Throughout an look on the “STUpodity” podcast, Van Gundy defined that it was clear he was not on the identical web page as Pelicans govt vice chairman of basketball operations David Griffin and “checked out teaching completely completely different,” resulting in his abrupt exit. After New Orleans completed 31-41 total and missed the play-in match in Van Gundy’s first season because the group’s head coach, New Orleans introduced it was parting methods with Van Gundy, and Griffin said that the group made the choice as a result of it was “in the perfect curiosity of our group to maneuver ahead in a unique route.”

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“I might say it was joint on this sense, and I believe you’ll be able to perceive this: I do not need to be someplace they do not need me, they usually did not need me,” Van Gundy mentioned on the podcast. “I wasn’t at that time going to battle to attempt to keep there. It wasn’t a mutual choice. It was humorous. After I left Detroit, my proprietor there, who I actually preferred, Tom Gores, additionally mentioned it was a mutual choice. I mentioned, ‘Yeah, Tom requested me to depart, and so I left.’ I assume that is mutual. This is similar factor.”

A June report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Joe Vardon and William Guillory indicated that members of the family of Pelicans star Zion Williamson had been sad with Van Gundy being “too inflexible and demanding” as a coach, resulting in hypothesis {that a} poor relationship between Van Gundy and Williamson might have pushed the 61-year-old out the door. However Van Gundy shut down these rumors, saying that he loved teaching Williamson, who earned his first All-Star choice this season.

“I had a very good relationship with him. I had no drawback,” Van Gundy mentioned. “I believe we elevated his platform that we gave him. We put him in numerous conditions, had him dealing with the ball lots, enjoying loads of level guard. I assumed we did some good issues with him. In the event that they had been sad, I did not hear about it. Zion was sad with us not profitable extra video games, however Zion by no means expressed to me any of that. That does not imply he wasn’t sad. I do not know. It is potential that they had been sad with me and that was a part of what led to the change. I hate when it will get placed on gamers that gamers are getting coaches fired and issues like that. I believe that makes gamers look dangerous, and I do not suppose that is honest. Gamers definitely have the proper to specific their opinion to individuals and issues like that, however entrance workplaces and house owners make selections they usually’re those who determine to fireplace individuals. That should never, ever, ever be positioned on gamers.

“I do know this, no matter what occurred in that regard, Zion’s no coach killer. He is a man that is gonna enable you win loads of video games. He performs the sport the proper manner. One of many issues I am going to miss is the chance to proceed to teach him as a result of he is so distinctive in the best way that he performs the sport and the issues that he can do this it actually will get your thoughts spinning as a coach and you’ve got loads of potentialities in what you are able to do with him. That was enjoyable to discover. So, I am proud of what we did with Zion. I believe we helped him. How anybody else felt about that will be as much as them.”

As for who ought to substitute him in New Orleans, Van Gundy advisable Pelicans assistant coach Fred Vinson. Van Gundy praised Vinson for his work in serving to Williamson to enhance his shot and believes he can be in good place to take over due to his relationship with not solely Williamson, but additionally Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball.

However no matter which candidate fills the void, Van Gundy feels the following coach will probably be strolling right into a terrific scenario.

“I simply thought there was good progress happening, however someone else will now must take the following step, and there is loads of good coaches on the market,” Van Gundy mentioned. “I suppose that is nonetheless a sexy job as a result of New Orleans is a good metropolis. It is a younger group — too younger, fairly truthfully, want to become old. That is one of many huge issues. Two-thirds of our factors had been scored by guys 23 and youthful. It is simply an excessive amount of, however there’s loads of potential right here, and you have a generational expertise on the core of it.”

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