As of Tuesday morning, the New Orleans Pelicans remained one of just two NBA franchises with a head coaching vacancy. That appears to be on the verge of changing as it looks like the organization has found its man.
According to a report from Stadium and The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Pelicans plan to hire Willie Green as the franchise’s new head coach. Green, 39, has served as an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns for the past three seasons and will now take on his first top gig in the NBA.
“Sources: The Pelicans are planning to hire Suns assistant Willie Green,” Charania wrote on Twitter. “Green, 39, has played 12 NBA seasons and has developed a strong reputation across five seasons as an assistant, including two titles in Golden State.
Charania’s report comes after ESPN’s Andrew Lopez and Adrian Wojnarowski called Green a frontrunner for the Pelicans top job on Monday evening.
Sources: The Pelicans are planning to hire Suns assistant Willie Green. Green, 39, has played 12 NBA seasons and has developed a strong reputation across five seasons as an assistant, including two titles in Golden State.https://t.co/sdjV49uw3h
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 13, 2021
Green brings with him to the Pelicans a wealth of NBA experience, both as a player and an assistant coach. Before joining Monty Williams’ staff in Phoenix, he spent four seasons with the Golden State Warriors from 2016-19, during the height of the organization’s dynasty.
Prior to becoming a coach, Green played for 12 years in the NBA, which included one year in New Orleans. He never became a regular starter, but played productive bench roles with the 76ers, Hornets, Hawks, Clippers and Magic.
At 39, Green will become the third youngest coach in the NBA. ESPN reported that the Pelicans interest in him came from “his ability to connect to players” both when he was on the court himself and since he made the move to the coaching ranks in 2016.
Green will inherit a young core, built around burgeoning star Zion Williamson and the rapidly improving Brandon Ingram, but much of the team’s roster remains in flux. With their two best players rounding in the form, the Pelicans expectation will be to win now, starting with the 2021-22 season.