Willie Green, Pelicans expected to finalize deal this week

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The Pelicans and Willie Green are expected to finalize a deal this week that will make the Suns assistant the new head coach in New Orleans, reports ESPN’s Andrew Lopez (Twitter link).

There has been an expectation for several days that the Pelicans – who dismissed Stan Van Gundy after a single season – will hire Green as their head coach. Reports over the weekend said Green was viewed around the NBA as the frontrunner for the position, while a Monday report called him the strong favorite and a Tuesday report stated that New Orleans planned to hire him. The two sides are now nearing completion on their agreement, according to Lopez.

A former NBA shooting guard, Green transitioned into the coaching ranks in 2016, working with the Warriors as an assistant for three seasons before making the move to Phoenix in 2019. He has been on Monty Williams‘ staff for the last two years and reportedly talked to the Wizards and Magic about their head coaching vacancies before zeroing in on the Pelicans’ job.

Green’s current team remains active in the NBA Finals, which is likely slowing down the hiring process a little. Even if he and the Pelicans do complete their deal this week, Green figures to finish out the season with Phoenix. He’s seeking his third championship as an NBA assistant coach.

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