The New Orleans Pelicans have fired head coach Monty Williams.
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.
Ownership gave GM Dell Demps and Monty Williams preseason mandate to make playoffs to keep jobs, w/ no allowance for injuries. They made it.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 16, 2015
ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne also echoed the sentiment:
Surprised to see Pelicans announce they’d parted ways w/ Monty Williams. Sense around the NBA was he’d saved his job by making playoffs
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 12, 2015
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:
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.