Pelicans Rumors: Jason Kidd, Jacque Vaughn Likely Targets to Replace Van Gundy as HC

Adam WellsJune 16, 2021

Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans will have a third head coach in three seasons after they moved on from Stan Van Gundy on Wednesday, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez

According to Wojnarowski, potential replacements are expected to include Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd, Brooklyn Nets assistants Jacque Vaughn and Ime Udoka and Milwaukee Bucks assistant Charles Lee. 

Wojnarowski later added Pelicans assistant Fred Vinson will get "serious consideration" for the vacancy.

Marc Stein of the New York Times added Pelicans assistant Teresa Weatherspoon is also expected to be a candidate.

Kidd has been a popular head coaching candidate this offseason after spending the past two years as a Lakers assistant under Frank Vogel.

Damian Lillard publicly advocated for the Portland Trail Blazers to hire Kidd as Terry Stotts' replacement. Yet, Kidd withdrew his name from consideration for the job in part because he felt uncomfortable with the process after Lillard's comments. 

Vaughn served as interim head coach in Brooklyn for the final 10 games of the 2019-20 season after Kenny Atkinson left the organization. Udoka was an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs (2012-19) and Philadelphia 76ers (2019-20) before joining Steve Nash's staff with the Nets this season. 

After the Pelicans fired Alvin Gentry at the end of the 2019-20 season, their job was one of the most appealing in the NBA. Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson are two of the league's best young players. 

Williamson took a significant step forward in 2020-21 while playing for Van Gundy. The 20-year-old ranked eighth in the NBA in scoring average (27.0 points per game), eighth in field-goal percentage (61.1) and was named to the All-Star team. 

Poor play on the defensive end held New Orleans back, though, as it missed the playoffs and play-in tournament with a 31-41 record. 

There are still a lot of promising pieces in place for the Pelicans to turn things around quickly, but they need to find the right head coach to unlock their potential. 


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