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The New Orleans Pelicans are moving quickly to assemble a coaching staff to surround Alvin Gentry, reaching an agreement in principle with Boston Celtics assistant Darren Erman to become associate head coach, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Erman, who will oversee the Pelicans' defense, informed Celtics officials on Tuesday morning that he had accepted the job with New Orleans, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
A disciple of ex-Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, Erman was the architect of a Golden State Warriors defense that developed into one of the league’s juggernauts.
When Erman took over the Golden State defense, he transformed a 26th-ranked unit to 11th in 2012-13, and ultimately third in 2013-14. Erman worked under Thibodeau and later Lawrence Frank with the Boston Celtics as members of coach Doc Rivers’ staff.
Several Golden State players, including Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, point to Erman's individual work as a key asset to their development.
Erman spent the 2014-15 season on Brad Stevens' staff with the Boston Celtics, where the defense showed significant improvement. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has been a proponent of Erman's, and brought him back for a second tour in 2014-15 to work under Brad Stevens.
The Toronto Raptors recently pursued Erman to become defensive coordinator under Dwane Casey, sources said, but the chance to become associate head coach with Gentry and work with superstar Anthony Davis apparently swayed him.
New Orleans is discussing another assistant's job with Oklahoma City Thunder assistant Robert Pack, league sources said. Pack is unlikely to be retained by new coach Billy Donovan.
Pack has been an assistant coach with New Orleans Hornets, the Los Angeles Clippers (2010-13) and Thunder (2013-15). After going undrafted out of the University of Southern California, Pack had a 13-year NBA career with seven teams.
Gentry agreed to a four-year, $13.75 million contract to replace Monty Williams and will begin his duties in earnest after the Golden State Warriors finish the NBA Finals. Gentry is the Warriors’ associate head coach.
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