Pelicans hire Stan Van Gundy as head coach

Mar 21, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy coaches against the Brooklyn Nets during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Van Gundy has agreed to become the next head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and ESPN’s Andrew Lopez.

Van Gundy will sign a four-year deal with the team, according to Shams Charania.

Van Gundy, 61, who has a career coaching record of 523-384, will become the seventh coach in Pelicans’ franchise history.

He went 112-73 with the Miami Heat from 2003-2005, 259-135 with the Orlando Magic from 2007-2012 and 152-176 with the Detroit Pistons from 2014-2018.

The Pelicans were sold on Van Gundy’s abilities as a teacher with a young roster, his history of building top defensive teams and his vision for the roster in place, Wojnarowski also notes.

In his 11 full seasons as a head coach, Van Gundy’s teams were in the top half of the NBA in defensive rating 10 times.

His teams also finished top 10 in defensive rating in eight of those seasons.

The Pelicans’ young core is centered around Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball.

It also includes 2019 NBA Draft lottery pick Jaxson Hayes and 2019 No. 17 pick Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

If the Pelicans don’t shake up their roster, Van Gundy will be expected to guide the team to the playoffs with the young core combined with veteran guards Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick.

The Pelicans began eyeing Van Gundy for the job last week when he interviewed on Oct. 13.

Now that the Pelicans have their new head coach, only the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder need to fill their coaching vacancies.