Stan Van Gundy fired after failing to get Zion Williamson, Pelicans into playoffs

After just one season with the New Orleans Pelicans and coaching All-Star Zion William, Stan Van Gundy is out as head coach, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.

The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly until the Pelicans made an official announcement.

Van Gundy was 31-41 with the Pelicans who fell short of the playoffs in the Western Conference with a roster featuring Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball.

Later on Wednesday morning, the Pelicans release a statement from executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin.

"On behalf of Mrs. Gayle Benson and the Pelicans organization, I would like to thank Stan for the integrity and professionalism that he demonstrated during his time in New Orleans, as well as the commitment and work ethic he brought to our team,” Griffin said. “This was a difficult decision as I have tremendous respect for Stan both personally and professionally, but we agreed it is in the best interest of our team to move forward in a different direction. We wish Stan, Kim and their family all the best in the future."

It is a young team, but expectations were higher as New Orleans finished two games behind 10th-place San Antonio for the final play-in spot in the West.

Stan Van Gundy was fired after just one season in New Orleans. (Photo: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports)

Van Gundy is the second coach to lose his job after just one season with a team. Indiana dismissed Nate Bjorkgren after one season.

There are now six head coaching openings in the NBA: New Orleans, Indiana, Boston, Orlando, Portland and Washington.

Van Gundy returned to coaching after a two-year absence following four seasons in Detroit. Prior to Detroit, Van Gundy coached Orlando and Miami. He is 554-425 in 13 NBA seasons with a Finals appearance in 2009 with the Magic.

Houston assistant Will Weaver, Dallas assistant Jamahl Mosley, now-Los Angeles Clippers coach Ty Lue and were among the finalists for the job last year. Lakers assistant Jason Kidd and former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson also received consideration.

Griffin is expected to expand his search that could include Pelicans assistant coach Teresa Weatherspoon as a candidate.

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