The Pelicans choose to stay positive and not get down. In his one season as head coach of the Pelicans, Van Gundy led the team to a 31-41 record. When the team’s final 25 games were over, Hart jumped into restricted free agency. He had been out with a hand injury for those games. Still, he hoped that teams around the league would be interested in him. Those great deals never came thru. He signed a three-year deal with New Orleans. The deal could be worth as much as $38 million, but there’s a big problem: only the first year is safe.
It’s easy to trade, so that’s always in the back of your mind.
For the first time in his adult life, Hart took a break from basketball for the first time in his life. He married. He took a break from the game because he thought that being away from it would give him a new perspective. He also started getting ready to play for his fourth head coach in five years. As a young player, Hart knew that going thru so many different ideas and management styles could take its toll.
This is what he said: “Some coaches are positive, and some don’t,” he said. Some keep it real, and some don’t.
Over dinner before the start of the first day of training camp, Hart said he wasn’t sure where he fit on the team. Green, a former assistant coach for the Warriors and the Suns, said he came to the meeting with a goal in mind. First things first: how did Hart fare this summer? What did he have to deal with? He couldn’t help. To show how much he liked Hart’s competitiveness, Green said, “He has made every team that I have played for better.” He also thought of him as a leader.
In the end, Hart said, “I felt like I could play the game how I wanted to play it.” In basketball, this is what you want to hear: that your coach has faith in you.
Hart is having the best season of his professional career. He is averaging 13.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while shooting a career-best 51.5 percent from the field, which is the best he has ever done.
In his words, “I have faith in them.” “No matter how bad it looks, I know we’ll get there.”