New Orleans Pelicans parted ways with veteran coach Stan Van Gundy in what described as a mutual agreement between the two sides.
However, Van Gundy does not feel this characterization is entirely accurate. During an appearance on the “STUpodity” podcast, explained the story from his side.
“I would say it was joint in this sense, and I think you can understand this: I don’t want to be somewhere they don’t want me, and they didn’t want me,” Van Gundy said on the podcast. “I wasn’t at that point going to fight to try to stay there.
It wasn’t a mutual decision. It was funny. When I left Detroit, my owner there, who I really liked, Tom Gores, also said it was a mutual decision. I said, ‘Yeah, Tom asked me to leave, and so I left.’ I guess that’s mutual. This is the same thing.”
The Pelicans, a team with playoff aspiration at the start of the season, finished with a 31-41 overall record and missed the play-in tournament in Van Gundy’s first season.
Despite the rumors suggesting otherwise, Van Gundy explained that he enjoyed coaching Zion Williamson as the Pelicans’ superstar made great strides during the last season.
“I know this, regardless of what happened in that regard, Zion’s no coach killer. He’s a guy that’s gonna help you win a lot of games. He plays the game the right way.
One of the things I’ll miss is the opportunity to continue to coach him because he’s so unique in the way that he plays the game and the things that he can do that it really gets your mind spinning as a coach, and you have a lot of possibilities in what you can do with him.”
You can hear the full conversation with Stan Van Gundy here.