Pelicans Rumors: Suns' Willie Green Emerges as 'Strong Frontrunner' for HC Job

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJuly 12, 2021

Phoenix Suns assistant coach Willie Green in the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Denver. The Nuggets won 116-104. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Willie Green is two wins away from a championship ring as an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns, and he may have a head coaching position waiting for him after the NBA Finals.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, "Green has emerged as the strong frontrunner and the New Orleans Pelicans' choice to become the franchise's next head coach."

Wojnarowski's update comes after Fletcher Mackel of WDSU in New Orleans reported that Green is the "presumed next Pelicans head coach" with plenty of mutual interest.

Green played 12 seasons in the NBA from 2003-04 through 2014-15 for the Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers and Orlando Magic. He averaged 8.3 points per game and connected on 34.6 percent of his three-pointers during his career as a shooting guard.

He has also found immediate success as an assistant coach.

The Detroit Mercy product was on Steve Kerr's staff starting with the 2016-17 campaign and helped lead the Golden State Warriors to two championships and another NBA Finals appearance. He has been in Phoenix for the past two years and is a key assistant for a Suns squad that is leading the Milwaukee Bucks 2-1 in this season's NBA Finals.

Green, who is just 39 years old, can command the respect of the locker room as someone who suited up as a player for more than a decade and won multiple championships as an assistant coach.

The New Orleans position is open after the Pelicans fired Stan Van Gundy in June following just one season.

They missed the playoffs with a 31-41 record and are looking to build a long-term winner with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram as the cornerstone players.