NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Pelicans are looking for a new coach to oversee the still nascent Zion Williamson era.
The Pelicans fired 65-year-old coach Alvin Gentry on Saturday after the club missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons.
New Orleans went 30-42 this season, finishing with just two victories in its final eight games despite the presence of top overall draft choice Zion Williamson and first-time All-Star Brandon Ingram in the lineup until the club was eliminated from playoff contention with two games to play.
But Griffin asserted during a video media conference that a coaching change might have been forthcoming even if New Orleans had rallied to capture one of the Western Conference's final playoff spots.
“The wins and losses have very little to do with this," Griffin said. “This is really about the process. This is about the shared vision of how we’re going to go forward and what this looks like as we build.”
While Griffin declined to answer specific questions about potential candidates, he said he expects the club's coaching search to move deliberately, in part because many candidates are on the staffs of teams that have made the playoffs.
“We will not be quick with this at all. This is not a rush. We have a job that we believe is going to be the most attractive in the NBA," Griffin said, adding that the coronavirus pandemic also could slow the timeline for a hire because of the importance he places on getting to know candidates face to face.
“This isn’t going to be done solely via Zoom,” Griffin said. “It’s very difficult to find the right voice with the right group of people that have a shared vision. I would tell you that hiring a head coach is the hardest thing we do from a front office perspective because it impacts every single part of your organization, and it has the biggest impact every day on your players and the culture that you’re trying to build."