The New Orleans Pelicans parted ways with Stan Van Gundy early Wednesday morning. The move was not unexpected.
Despite a young, up-and-coming squad that included Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson, New Orleans finished with a 31-41 mark and failed to make the playoffs.
While Van Gundy’s departure isn’t particularly shocking given reports he was disliked in the locker room, what is a bit surprising is whom is being targeted as his replacement. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Pelicans may be on the verge of making a historical hire.
“Pelicans assistant coach Teresa Weatherspoon is expected to emerge as a candidate to replace Stan Van Gundy in New Orleans,” Stein reported.
Weatherspoon won a National Championship at Louisiana Tech and earned five WNBA All-Star nods with the New York Liberty during her Hall of Fame playing career. From 2008 to 2013, she served as the head coach of Louisiana Tech and went 99-71.
Back in 2019, Weatherspoon was named a two-way player development coach for the Pelicans. Eventually, in November 2020, she was promoted to a full-time assistant coach for New Orleans.
Between Williamson’s flirtation with the New York Knicks and Ball’s questionable future with the organization, the Pelicans have a lot of fires to put out. It would behoove the front office to quickly find the next head coach and ensure it is someone who has the respect and adoration of the players currently on the roster.
On paper, Weatherspoon seems to fit the bill.
Will the Pelicans ultimately pull the trigger on this move, though? Time will tell.