After a disappointing showing in the Walt Disney World bubble, the New Orleans Pelicans parted ways with their head coach of five years, Alvin Gentry. He joined the Pelicans in 2015 and has never progressed past the second round.
A brand new young core led by several former Los Angeles Lakers — and a failure to make the playoffs this season — led to Gentry’s dismissal.
The Pelicans now look for a coach that has success with grooming young players, and will need someone who can make the pairing of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram work. The young stars did not play in many games together this season, but the fit between their play styles was extremely awkward.
Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd reportedly one of three candidates currently leading the way in the Pelicans initial search for Gentry’s replacement, according to Andrew Lopez and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Among those coaches expected to be part of the Pelicans search: Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, Clippers assistant Ty Lue and former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, sources said.
Among the three candidates, Kenny Atkinson is the only one not currently employed by another NBA team, meaning he will not need to seek permission to interview for the job. However, the Lakers and L.A. Clippers presumably would allow for Kidd and Tyronn Lue to interview.
All three of the Pelicans top choices offer very different skillsets as coaches. Lue brings with him championship experience, but has not shown very much in terms of coaching young players or creating schemes that work without having a true star the way he did with LeBron James.
Atkinson has shown an ability to get the most out of young players, but has little experience coaching players as talented as Ingram and Williamson.
Kidd also knows how to get a lot out of young talent, but is yet to translate it to tangible results. His time with the Milwaukee Bucks is proof of this, with the team having their best season in decades just one year after Kidd was dismissed.
Kidd a leading candidate for Nets head coach job
In addition to the Pelicans vacant position, Kidd is one of the names being tossed around to replace Nets interim coach Jacque Vaughn when the season ends for them. He is — again — alongside Lue on the Nets’ short list, and they are also joined by Ime Udoka and Jeff Van Gundy.
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