The Pelicans will need “significant progress” over the final four weeks of the season to save coach Alvin Gentry’s job, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.
The organization is more likely to keep GM Dell Demps, but that isn’t guaranteed, Deveney adds.
The Pelicans were considered favorites to grab the West’s final playoff spot after the February 20th trade that brought DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans. However, the team has gone just 4-6 since the deal and sits five games behind Denver with 15 left to play.
A scout tells Deveney “the writing is on the wall” concerning Gentry’s future, but management isn’t demanding a playoff appearance for him and Demps to stick around. The front office understands that a transition period was necessary for Cousins and Anthony Davis to get used to playing together and to change from an up-tempo strategy to a twin towers approach. Cousins is averaging 20.9 points per game in New Orleans, down from 27.8 with the Kings, and his shooting percentage has dropped from 45.1 to 42.1.
Working in Gentry’s favor may be a lack of proven talent in the coaching market. The team is believed to want someone to serve as both a coach and team president, and there may not be anyone available who has merited that dual role.
Gentry, who has one year left on his contract at $3.3MM, faced similar rumors early in the season. A November 13th report said it might be a matter of days until a coaching change after the Pelicans started the season 1-9. However, Gentry was able to get the team on the edge of the playoff race and save his job, at least temporarily.
Gentry has a 57-92 record in nearly two seasons on the Pelicans’ bench, and the team has made the playoffs just once in Demps’ five seasons as GM.