Elston Turner Rumors

Chris Wallace wonders why Elston Turner has not been hired as a head coach in the NBA. Turner, currently the lead assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies, has assembled an impressive resume that is filled with wins and playoffs appearances. Turner has interviewed for a number of vacant head coach positions during his career, but has never been hired. “He’s certainly deserves a head coaching job,” said Wallace, general manager of the Grizzlies. “He’s been successful as a player – collegiate and pro level. He’s been around.”
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So is Turner bitter about not getting an opportunity? “Not at all,” he said. “Most definitely, I still want to be a head coach. I’d love the opportunity. No question, I’m prepared. But I know there are only 30 jobs, and when one opens up, 300 people have their names in the hat. If it doesn’t happen for me, I’m just as blessed as can be to be where I am.” I hope Turner — one of the classiest guys ever to come through the Blazers’ organization — gets his shot. His demeanor reminds me a lot of Paul Silas, who served 12 years as head coach with Cleveland, the San Diego Clippers, Charlotte and New Orleans. And also of Lenny Wilkens, the Hall of Famer who is second on the NBA coaches’ career win list.
Officially announced Monday, Joerger will lean on his coaching mentor (famed minor league coach Duane Ticknor), a longtime and well-respected NBA assistant (Elston Turner), a holdover from the Lionel Hollins regime (Bob Thornton) and an up-and-coming young coach (Shawn Respert). The Griz also announced the addition of Chattin Hill as athletic performance coach and hired Mark Sanford as assistant video coordinator/player development. Jason March, video coordinator for several seasons, was promoted to advance scout. March’s former assistant Steve Jones moves in to the role as video coordinator/player development.
How far away do you think you are from getting an opportunity to be a head coach? Shawn Respert: You know what? Not far away. I don’t think any young coach could ask for a better coaching staff that I came into. All of them are former NBA players: Adelman, Terry Porter, TR Dunn, Jack Sikma and then in Houston we had Elston Turner. All I had to do was just sit back and keep my mouth shut, listen and learn. After almost six years of working with a staff like that in the NBA, I’m sure I’m ready for a head coaching job for a college level or maybe a D-League opportunity. The NBA? Let’s say maybe five years. Then I’ll be ready to do something in the NBA and lead a team.
Clifford becomes the sixth known candidate to fill the opening created when the Bobcats fired Mike Dunlap last month. The others: Former Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry and four assistants: Nate Tibbetts (Cleveland), Kelvin Sampson (Houston), Jeff Hornacek (Utah) and Elston Turner (most recently with the Suns).
he list of known candidates for the Charlotte Bobcats head-coaching job is at five and probably growing. Various news sources have identified four current NBA assistants, plus Shelby native Alvin Gentry, who has been a head coach with four NBA teams. The assistants (in alphabetical order): Jeff Hornacek (Utah Jazz), Kelvin Sampson (Houston Rockets), Nate Tibbetts (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Elston Turner (most recently with the Phoenix Suns).
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New Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter won his first two games, but it’s highly doubtful that Alvin Gentry sent a congratulatory note to his successor. Suns insiders say that Gentry more than once had Hunter removed from practices when Hunter was serving in his role as a first-year player development coordinator. Hunter was regarded as a spy for the front office, which was all but confirmed after the Suns fired Gentry and tabbed Hunter over Gentry’s longtime assistants, Elston Turner and Dan Majerle, each of whom was more deserving for the interim post
Turner went to a coaches meeting Tuesday morning but was told by Hunter that Suns management wanted to speak to him before he took up the offer to return to the staff. “The whole meeting had a dark cloud hanging over it,” Turner said. “It just gave me the impression that roles may change. Instead of viewing me as an asset, it made it seem like they couldn’t use my experience or they would have to try to work me in. The whole tone was negative.” Turner, 53, said the time away made him feel like he had an obligation to return to players, fans and basketball. “I owed the players a chance to help them get better and I’m sure they’d welcome the most qualified coach,” Turner said. “I felt an obligation to the paying customer to give them the best product possible. And I love the damn game.” When he mentioned wanting to stay, he said one executive asked him, “Well, why would you?”
Even then, Turner’s emotional heat had cooled a little and he was ready to fulfill his contractual obligation — just as he said he’d relayed to General Manager Lance Blanks that he would should he not be selected. After missing three practices and a road game, Turner and Suns management agreed to part ways with his full salary paid. “The impression that I got was that it may be tough to find a spot for a 16-year veteran with 15 straight years of winning experience,” Turner said Thursday.
After missing three practices and a road game, Turner and Suns management agreed to part ways with his full salary paid. “The impression that I got was that it may be tough to find a spot for a 16-year veteran with 15 straight years of winning experience,” Turner said Thursday morning. Turner went to a coaches’ meeting Tuesday morning but was told by interim coach Lindsey Hunter that Suns management wanted to speak to him before he took up the offer to return to the staff. “The whole meeting had a dark cloud hanging over it,” Turner said. “It just gave me the impression that roles may change. Instead of viewing me as an asset, it made it seem like they couldn’t use my experience or they would have to try to work me in. The whole tone was negative.”
Meanwhile, Hunter already had named Igor Kokoskov to the role of lead assistant, which had been Turner’s title. Turner said he was openly upset with management when he was not chosen to be interim head coach because he had served as the lead assistant and had been denied the opportunity in 2011 to go to Minnesota to join Rick Adelman, who had coached with for his entire career. “It’s tough to stay somewhere where you’re really not wanted,” said Turner, who follows fellow assistant coach Dan Majerle out the door. “It was almost like they wanted what they wanted.”
Turner went to a coaches’ meeting Tuesday morning but was told by interim coach Lindsey Hunter that Suns management wanted to speak to him before he took up the offer to return to the staff. “The whole meeting had a dark cloud hanging over it,” Turner said. “It just gave me the impression that roles may change. Instead of viewing me as an asset, it made it seem like they couldn’t use my experience or they would have to try to work me in. The whole tone was negative.”