New Orleans Pelicans fire head coach Monty Williams despite making the playoffs

Monty williamsChris Graythen/GettyMonty Williams coached the Pelicans for five seasons.

The New Orleans Pelicans have fired head coach Monty Williams.

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported it. The Pelicans have since announced the firing and released a statement.

The move comes as a shock to the NBA world, as Williams helped the Pelicans to a 45-37 record and they made the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Though many people felt the Pelicans only made the playoffs because of injuries to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Pelicans also suffered through several regular season injures and gave the Warriors a surprisingly competitive first-round series.

That Williams was fired after making the playoffs is also significant. Wojnarowski reported in April that the Pelicans front office gave Williams a mandate to make the playoffs to ensure his job security.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne also echoed the sentiment:

John Reid of The Times Picayune wrote about the Pelicans’ offseason in late April and made the relationship between Williams and the front office sound solid:

The franchise has not announced yet whether Williams or Demps will be receiving contract extensions. But owner Tom Benson set a letter of congratulations to Williams and his staff and players, along with Demps and his basketball operations staff, for the team’s winning season and playoff appearance.

Though Williams wouldn’t comment on a contract extension, he told Reid that he and GM Dell Demps would be working in the offseason to decide how to shape the roster.

The Pelicans are one of several teams believed to be interested in monitoring whether Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau becomes available this summer.

Here’s the team’s statement on firing Williams:

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