NBA Rumor: Alvin Gentry Hot Seat?

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The most obvious area where a drastic change could be made immediately is in the coaching ranks. Gentry has been on the hot seat practically since the day he arrived in New Orleans, and when a team hires a new executive, it’s usually a matter of time before the boss gets antsy and decides to make a change. The worst-kept secret in the NBA is that Gentry’s time with the Pelicans won’t last much longer. Names of potential replacements have already been floated in the media, and the season isn’t even over yet.

Tyronn Lue, Jason Kidd options for Pelicans?

How about Alvin Gentry and the New Orleans Pelicans? Executive VP David Griffin and Pelicans ownership have a decision to make with a year left on Gentry’s contract, sources said. Consider two relationships Griffin has back to his front-office days in Cleveland and Phoenix, respectively, if there’s a change in New Orleans: LA Clippers assistant Ty Lue and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, sources said.

How about “what is Alvin Gentry’s future?” Despite the fact that Gentry and GM David Griffin go way back to their days together in Phoenix, all season long we’ve heard mutterings that the Pels’ new front office thinks they might be able to do better. The rumblings were particularly strong during the 6-22 start, but even during the playoff push, it hasn’t abated. Gentry is one of the most well-liked people in the entire NBA and is popular locally and with ownership, so a change would be a considerable expenditure of Griffin’s political capital. The COVID-19 situation adds another layer as well — can they absorb eating the final year on Gentry’s contract and paying two coaches next season, in a year when the team is already likely to lose money?

It would be unfair to place all the blame for the team’s early-season struggles on Gentry’s shoulders, but the fanbase hasn’t been shy about sharing its frustrations with some of his decisions along the way. Gentry is a beloved figure in the locker room and throughout the organization, but again, Griffin will have to face a crucial point in this rebuilding process over the summer. Making a move without a clear upgrade available wouldn’t make much sense, but there’s no question coaches will be lining up for an opportunity to lead this talented roster.

It would be unfair to place all the blame for the team’s early-season struggles on Gentry’s shoulders, but the fanbase hasn’t been shy about sharing its frustrations with some of his decisions along the way. Gentry is a beloved figure in the locker room and throughout the organization, but again, Griffin will have to face a crucial point in this rebuilding process over the summer. Making a move without a clear upgrade available wouldn’t make much sense, but there’s no question coaches will be lining up for an opportunity to lead this talented roster.

I don’t think this loss is enough to convince Griffin and owner Gayle Benson that it’s time for a coaching change, but if things don’t change, and soon, Gentry’s days could be quickly numbered. “We control our own destiny. We’ve got to be the ones that compete. We’ve got to be the ones that play hard,” Gentry said. “Obviously, we’re struggling right now. And to be honest with you, Zion is not coming in as the cavalry. We’ve got to play good basketball. … It’s unacceptable the way we’re playing right now. It’s just unacceptable.

Was it important to get a statement from ownership this summer knowing where you stand? What’s been their message to you? Alvin Gentry: It’s really, in all honesty, one of those things I never worry about. I go on about my day every day like I’m going to be here long-term, because it’s a decision that I don’t have any bearing on. So I don’t spend any time on it. I spend my time trying to figure out the best way to coach the team and figure out how can we be better and how can we improve. That’s where all my energy is. I’ve never been a guy that worried about things I didn’t have any control over.
4 years ago via ESPN

But with just a 34-48 record to show for it, most of the discussion centered on which of the principals will be back for the third consecutive bid to reclaim the heights of 2014-15’s playoff run, starting with the two fielding the questions. “I walk in here every day excited about my job,” Demps said, echoing what he said after last season’s 30-52 campaign when faced with a similar line of questioning. “I don’t ever feel the pressure, or anything like that. “Right now, we’re in evaluation mode. We’re going to sit back and meet with Alvin. We’re going to sit back and go over the whole season. I think we’ve had a lot of challenges this year. But I do like the direction and path that we’re headed [on].”

Alvin Gentry appears to be in a fight to save his job with league sources confirming that he has been told by management that they expect for the team to show signs of progress over the final stretch of the season because the talent issue on the roster has been addressed with the addition of DeMarcus Cousins. According to the Sporting News, no definite decision has made on the future of General Manager Dell Demps either, despite pulling off the blockbuster trade last month to acquire Cousins from the Sacramento Kings.

Pelicans GM Dell Demps has expressed reservations on numerous occasions this season about last year’s decision to hire Alvin Gentry as coach, making his doubts known to some of the team’s players and staff, and to opponents as well, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical for a video report. It was Demps who originally chose Gentry for the job, as Wojnarowski casts it, though confusion exists over whether Demps or executive vice president of basketball operations Mickey Loomis is in control of the front office, as Zach Lowe of ESPN.com touched on in a trade deadline report.
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