The New Orleans Pelicans have hired Willie Green to be the team’s new head coach.
Green and Pelicans were rumored to be close to a deal last week, and it became official on Thursday.
The 39-year-old Green joins the Pelicans after spending the previous two seasons (2019-21) as an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns. As a part of head coach Monty Williams’ staff, Green helped guide the 2021 Western Conference Champions to their first NBA Finals appearance since 1993. As the Suns’ defensive coordinator, Phoenix finished the regular season with the NBA’s sixth-best defensive rating.
“I want to thank Mrs. Benson, David Griffin, and the entire Pelicans organization for having faith in me to lead this talented group of players moving forward,” said Green via a press release from the team. “It’s a blessing and an honor to get this opportunity in a special place like New Orleans. I look forward to getting to work and immersing myself and my family into the local community.”
Before joining Phoenix, Green spent three seasons (2016-19) as assistant coach/player development for the Golden State Warriors. While on head coach Steve Kerr’s staff, Green helped the Warriors win back-to-back NBA Championships in 2017 and 2018 before returning to the NBA Finals in 2019. He also served as the Warriors’ head coach for NBA Summer League in 2018, leading Golden State to the California Classic’s only 3-0 record.
The Detroit native, who spent 12 seasons in the NBA as a player, was selected with the 41st overall pick by Seattle in the 2003 NBA Draft. He appeared in 731 regular-season games (297 starts) with Philadelphia, New Orleans, Atlanta, the LA Clippers, and Orlando from 2003-15 and qualified for the playoffs seven times in his 12 seasons.