Stan Van Gundy lasted just one season with the New Orleans Pelicans, and now he is explaining what led to his disconnect with executive David Griffin.
Van Gundy appeared this week on “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.” During this episode, Van Gundy spoke on his rocky relationship with Griffin, the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Pelicans.
“I felt that the focus should be on what went on on the court,” Van Gundy said, per Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “What was good. What was bad. All of that. I think that Griff was concerned with the atmosphere around the team and the happiness of people and things like that. I think that was probably the biggest difference.
“If I would’ve gone into a meeting and somebody were to say, ‘Hey, you were 31-41, and that’s not good enough,’ I have no problem with that,” Van Gundy went on. “That’s what we sign up for in this business. Regardless of the circumstances, that’s what we sign up for in this business. But that’s not what it came down to or what I heard.”
What is interesting is that Griffin was already in place in New Orleans before the team hired Van Gundy. Usually most problems that arise between head coaches and executives occur when the head coach is hired first. But the two men were clearly never on the same page, as the Pelicans failed to even make the play-in tournament despite having young stars like Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball.
Van Gundy probably shouldn’t feel too bad though. Recent reports have indicated that Griffin has been difficult to work with in New Orleans no matter who the coach is.