After two years out of coaching, Stan Van Gundy is heading back to the bench.
He confirmed ESPN’s Andrew Lopez and Adrian Wojnarowski report that he “agreed to a deal” to be the next head coach for Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans.
I’m excited to join a talented New Orleans Pelicans team. It will be an honor to work with our players and to work for Mrs. Benson and David Griffin, Trajan Langdon, their staff and the great people of New Orleans. I can’t wait to talk to our players and get the process started
— Stan Van Gundy (@realStanVG) October 21, 2020
Van Gundy spent the 2019-20 season with TNT after some time with ESPN in 2018.
Before four truly forgettable seasons with the Detroit Pistons (2014-18), he coached the Orlando Magic for five years.
In Orlando, Van Gundy won at least 50 games in each season, except the last one. He also guided the Magic in 2009 to their first NBA Finals Appearance since 1995.
The Magic haven’t been out of the first round since 2010, including six straight seasons without even making the playoffs.
As for his new team, the New Orleans Pelicans, he’s got some work to do.
Zion Williamson was injured most of last season, but the Pelicans stayed within reach of the No. 8 seed. However, they floundered in the bubble and that cost Alvin Gentry his job.
The Pelicans only have nine players under contract, according to Spotrac.com. Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick headline the veterans, while Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart provide good young talent alongside Williamson.
New Orleans needs depth at every position (except shooting guard).
Personally, it’s good to see Stan Van back on the bench, but I’ll also miss him in the broadcast booth. He was so fun on TNT in the bubble.