Pelicans Rumors: Ty Lue, Jason Kidd 'Prime Candidates' After Alvin Gentry Firing

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2020

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue yells instructions to players in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

With Alvin Gentry reportedly out as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, the Pels are targeting two big names to replace him.  

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Los Angeles Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd are expected to be "prime candidates" to take over as head coach in New Orleans.

Lopez noted that Brooklyn Nets interim head coach Jacque Vaughn could also be in the mix if he doesn't stick in Brooklyn.

ESPN's Andrew Lopez and Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday that the Pelicans dismissed Gentry after the Pelicans went just 2-6 following the NBA restart in the Florida bubble and failed to reach the playoffs.

There were huge expectations surrounding the Pelicans entering the 2019-20 season as they had selected Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft and acquired Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and JJ Redick.

The Pelicans had to part with Anthony Davis in order to pry Ingram, Ball and Hart away from the Lakers, but with so much depth and such an impressive collection of young talent, they were thought to be a playoff contender.

Injuries delayed Zion's debut and limited him to just 24 games, however, and the team never quite seemed to find its rhythm.

Ingram did finally fulfill his promise and develop into an All-Star under Gentry, though, as he averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists.

In his five seasons as head coach of the Pelicans, Gentry went just 175-225 and led them to the playoffs only once, although they did advance to the second round in 2018.

The Pelicans present an attractive situation for any potential head coach due to their collection of talent, and it is easy to envision either Lue or Kidd being enticed by what they have to offer.

Lue is the most accomplished between them in terms of coaching as he went 128-83 in parts of four seasons as the Cleveland Cavaliers head coach. He took them to the NBA Finals three times and won a title in 2016.

While Lue was in Cleveland, current Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin was the Cavs general manager, and that existing relationship could make him the front-runner for the New Orleans job.

Kidd has five years of NBA head coaching experience with the Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. He owns a 183-190 overall record and led the Nets to the playoffs once while bringing the Bucks to the postseason twice.

Given his status as a Hall of Fame point guard, Kidd could be the perfect head coach for the Pelicans in terms of developing Ball and making him a premier floor general in the NBA.

Landing either Lue or Kidd won't be easy for the Pels, though, as Stein noted that both of them are expected to be top candidates for the Nets' job, as well.