NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Monty Williams has been fired as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans. This, after leading the team back to the playoffs after a four-year absence.
At a 3 p.m. news conference, Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps said that Tuesday was "not a fun day" and that the decision was an organizational one.
When asked about his relationship with Williams, Demps said he "didn't feel it was rocky," and that Williams' firing came after a comprehensive evaluation of the team and a look at its future.
"We want someone who can take us to the next level," he said.
It goes to show you that in the "win now" arena that is professional sports, winning now doesn't always guarantee the head coach another year on the job.
Williams still had one year remaining on his contract and based on what he has done since being on the job, some would argue that Williams is getting a raw deal.
Back in 2011, the league owned the team and decided to blow up the roster and the Hornets would finish the season 21-45.
But, Williams never wavered in his approach to rebuilding the franchise, increasing its win total every year. Going from 27-wins in 2012 to 35 wins the next season to 45 wins and a playoff spot this season. It was the team's first post-season appearance in five seasons. And he did all of this while juggling numerous injuries to key players.
Yet, that still wasn't enough to save his job. It still wasn't enough to warrant letting him coach out his contract. One more year for Williams was, apparently, just too much to ask.
Tuesday's firing wasn't at all about what Williams has done during his time on the bench. It speaks more to what this franchise wants to do going forward and whether or not Williams was the right man for the job.
Williams is a good young coach that has seen a lot as a former player and learned a lot as a first time head coach. But, with Anthony Davis having already reached superstar status, priority number one is to get him signed to a long term deal. And to do that, this franchise must convince him, through actions, that they want to win an NBA championship and will do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Call it the Chris Paul effect. Paul and Davis are cut from the same cloth. Both value winning more than money. The Hornets found this out the hard way when Paul left for the Los Angeles Clippers. This franchise cannot afford to let that happen with Davis.
Davis has been clear with his affection for Williams. He values their relationship and he attributes his growth to Williams' hands on approach, so this latest move likely came as a shock to Davis as well.
But, if Davis looks at the really big picture, he'll realize that this tough move is what's best for the franchise.
The Pelicans have to get this next head coaching search right. General Manager Dell Demps, who reportedly pushed Williams out the door, will more than likely make this next hire.
Demps better make a splash. Not only for the sake of Davis sticking around longer but for his own job security as well.