Latest New Orleans Hornets News
Jul 15, 2021
NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 28: (L-R) Willie Green #33 and Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets ... [+] react on the bench during a 98-80 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 28, 2011 at New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images Willie Green has spent the last few weeks winning over the New Orleans Pelicans in coaching interviews while chasing another NBA Finals championship ring with the Phoenix Suns. Multiple sources are reporting Green is the overwhelming favorite to be hired as the next head coach in New Orleans. The last order of business between Green and the Pelicans is finalizing the contract details. Considering the coaching situations and the pressure of coaching Zion Williamson, Green is worth an above-average salary to the New Orleans Pelicans even as a first-time head coach. While coaching salaries are not always disclosed, most fall in the $2-5 million dollar range. Alvin Gentry brought in approximately $3.5 million; Stan Van Gundy signed a four-year $5 million deal last summer. Van Gundy had a better career record and an NBA Finals appearance on his resume. Getting to the NBA Finals or taking on additional executive duties can earn a bump up to Nick Nurse ($6m) , Doc Rivers ($8m) , or Gregg Popovich ($11m) money. Green and the Pelicans have been sleeping on the idea for weeks. Pelicans General Manager Trajan Langdon and Brandon Ingram were in attendance for an NBA Finals game in Phoenix. Offering Green at least $3 million a year for three years with playoff incentives would be a great sign of support for the new coach and lead to some much-needed positive press around the team. Contractually and career-wise, the money matters more than the years in many ways for ownership, the front office, and Green. Green knows extra years on the contract is not real job security, not when the last coach did not make it a full year. The front office has to show a real commitment in the hire and ownership will soon face paying the luxury tax to keep a contender around Zion Williamson. The team cannot appear too timid, too unsure, or too frugal going forward. That is not to claim that is the case but the front office has been scrutinized heavily lately. JJ Redick and Van Gundy’s comments after leaving New Orleans have done some damage. If Green is the guy, put all the chips in the middle and stand by the decision. It might be the last coaching hire ever for Griffin . If all goes well with Green and the Pelicans make a deep playoff run, everyone will be signing much-deserved contract extensions. If not, at least the next new front office will not get saddled with the old regime’s coach. MORE FOR YOU The David Griffin-led front office has seemingly been answering questions about the coaching job since being hired years ago. Gentry was at the end of his deal, seemingly spared for a season after being the face of the team when Anthony Davis forced his way out of town. Van Gundy proved quickly to be a poor fit in a shortened 72-game season. It has been weeks since Van Gundy left New Orleans. The next opportunity for a show of strength and unity from the team is the next introductory press conference. Giving Green a bottom-five contract for a top-ten job would be sending mixed signals. Green is well-prepared for the job. He was on the bench for multiple title runs with the Golden State Warriors. He took on more responsibilities when he signed on with the Phoenix Suns but again finds himself in the NBA Finals. More importantly, he kept true to his core coaching philosophies, that one’s not drawn on a clipboard. That approach is one of the main reasons why New Orleans is expected to hire him. Steve Kerr complimented in a 2016 postgame interview , “Green is going to be a star. He’s a future head coach. He just has such a great way about him. He’s got that combination of that confidence that comes with having played in the league 12, 13 years but also the humility that comes with being a role player, having bounced around a little bit, and understanding how the league works.” Green explained “The best coaches aren't necessarily the ones that talk about Xs and Os. It’s doing everything from a place of love. People feel that. And if I can develop a relationship with players, coaches, front office members, and I can be critical but out of love, they can receive it better. It’s not how well I draw up a play or how much I get on you or discipline you. It’s how much people feel that you love them and care about them.” A proper contract is the best place to start for New Orleans, especially with all of the praise for Green throughout the league. As Chris Paul said recently, “Willie Green is a Head Coach. He will be the most humble and prepared coach you’ll ever see in your life.” The New Orleans Pelicans have to be prepared to pay for that level of commitment to the job. Some coaches overlook that aspect of the positions. It may only be a three-year deal initially but Green should be able to net $10 million in his return to New Orleans. He only played in the city for a season but the front office is hoping this hire is a slam dunk success and he will be sticking around for the rest of the decade to help fill the trophy case. The universal praise for Green gives New Orleans a reason to add years to the deal along with paying an above-average salary upfront: New Orleans has lost several star players over the years. Baron Davis. Chris Paul. Anthony Davis. Jrue Holiday. They cannot afford to lose an up-and-coming star coach as well. That is just another piece of evidence pointing to Green already being worth more than a few million dollars to the New Orleans Pelicans. Lastly, the NBA Draft and Free Agency period is almost here. By hiring Green, New Orleans can finally get over the past few years and get to work on the coming 2021-22 season. That feeling of unburdened relief is priceless to an upstart organization. It is hard to quantify all of this in a contract negotiation but the New Orleans Pelicans have many reasons to value Green at a wage level above the first-time head coaching floor.