Suns' Willie Green Reportedly Nearing Contract to Become Pelicans Head Coach

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 14, 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)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Willie Green helped lead the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals this season as an assistant coach and will reportedly get his first crack at being a head coach.

Per ESPN's Andrew Lopez and Adrian Wojnarowski, the New Orleans Pelicans are "nearing completion on a deal that will make him the team's next head coach."

It is expected the deal will be finalized this week, perhaps following the NBA Finals.

The Pelicans cast a wide net in their search for a head coach this year, for good reason. This is a crucial moment for the franchise after it fired Alvin Gentry a year ago and then fired Stan Van Gundy at the end of the 2020-21 season.

For an organization trying to build around a young core, including a budding superstar in Zion Williamson and a 23-year-old one-time All-Star in Brandon Ingram, having three head coaches in three seasons isn't a good sign of stability.

Per Shams Charania, Joe Vardon and William Guillory of The Athletic, things have gotten to the point in New Orleans that some members of Williamson's family have "voiced displeasure with the organization" and want him "on another team."

There has been no indication that Williamson himself is looking to leave the Pelicans, but recent history has shown that players can change their tune quickly if they become unhappy in a situation.

Green has spent the past five seasons as an assistant. He began his coaching career on Steve Kerr's staff with the Golden State Warriors in 2016. The 39-year-old spent three years with the organization, winning two titles in 2016-17 and 2017-18, before moving on to the Suns. 

Green will be tasked with turning the Pelicans around. New Orleans has missed the playoffs and hasn't finished higher than fourth in the Southwest Division in each of the past three seasons.