The New Orleans Peilcans have fired head coach Monty Williams.
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The Pelicans made the announcement via a press release on their official website on May 12:
"The New Orleans Pelicans today have informed Monty Williams that he will not be retained as the team's head coach, it was announced by Pelicans Executive Vice President Mickey Loomis.
"Williams was appointed head coach of the Pelicans on June 7, 2010 and in five seasons has led the team to two playoff appearances and an overall record of 173-221."
Loomis told the Pelicans' official website the decision was anything but easy:
"Making a decision like this is never easy and is never done hastily, especially when you are dealing with a person of Monty Williams' character. We thanked Monty for the tremendous work and commitment he made to our organization and the development of our young players, specifically Anthony Davis.
"While we continue to work towards improving our roster, we decided that now was the time to make this decision. We wish nothing but the best for Monty in the future."
In an interview with WDSU-TV's Fletcher Mackel, Williams said he is not bitter about his dismissal:
"I just want the fans to know I'm thankful for what they've done for me, I'm so indebted to them. I don't have any bitterness in my heart, man. I'm a bit hurt, a bit stuffed up. But God has always been in control of my life and I'm so blessed to have done what I've done here and to be a part of this great city."
According to league sources who told Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps has been eager for greater control of the team.
Demps eventually "pushed out Williams," per Wojnarowski.
The Yahoo! Sports update says Pelicans management support wavered while obstacles increased during the 2014-15 NBA season.
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The New Orleans Times Picayune's John Reid repoted on Tuesday that Williams still had a year left on his contract while Demps had a team option.
Demps said there is no set timetable
for the hiring of his next head coach, per Jim Eichenhofer of the the Pelicans' official website.
In a 15-minute press conference in Metairie, La. on May 12, Demps revealed what he's looking for in a head coach. He also said he likes the current makeup of the Pelicans, per Eichenhofer:
"We're going to find a coach who is good for us. Hopefully we can find someone who can take us to the next level. We haven't begun the search yet, but we're going to find the next level. We haven't begun the search yet, but we're going to find the best available candidate.
"How can we build? How can we grow? How can we keep improving? Our goal is sustained success. We want to continue building and growing. We want to get to the point where we can compete for championships.
"Things are very stable right now. The Benson ownership has been great. You look at our practice facility and look at the improvements in the (Smoothie King Center). The attendance in the playoffs was unbelievable. I think we're moving in the right direction.
"I feel like we have a good core, obviously centered around Anthony Davis. I think we have some good players on this team. Our goal is to keep going in the right direction."
Demps also confirmed the fate of the Pelicans' assistant coaches lies in the hands of the next head coach, per Eichenhofer:
"We talked to all of the assistant coaches. Their job status will be depending on the next (head) coach. He'll have the opportunity to retain them. That will be up to the new coach."
Just two weeks ago, Pelicans owner Tom Benson wrote a letter addressed to the fans regarding the team's future, per Yahoo! Sports.
"I am very excited about the future of our Pelicans and you have my word and my resolve to bring everything to bear to win," he wrote.
Since Benson purchased the team three years ago, it has improved its win total from 27 in 2012 to 45 this season. With Demps and Williams at the helm, the Pelicans earned the eighth playoff seed in the Western Conference in 2014-15, per Mackel.
It was New Orleans' first postseason appearance in four years, per WDSU-TV.
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