Pelicans Fire Head Coach Alvin Gentry

The Pelicans have parted ways with head coach Alvin Gentry, according to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez and Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The team has made it official, confirming the news in a press release.

“I’m grateful for and appreciative of Alvin’s commitment to the organization and, most importantly, the local community,” Pelicans executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement. “The City of New Orleans is richer because of his presence here. These types of moves are often about fit and timing, and we believe now is the right time to make this change and bring in a new voice.”

Gentry’s dismissal comes on the heels of a disappointing showing for New Orleans at the NBA’s restart in Orlando. The Pelicans entered the summer tied with the Trail Blazers and Kings at No. 9 in the West, 3.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Grizzlies. However, while Portland surpassed Memphis for the No. 8 seed with a strong showing at Walt Disney World, the Pelicans struggled — despite a favorable schedule, they lost six of their eight seeding games.

In total, Gentry spent five seasons as the head coach in New Orleans, compiling a 175-225 (.438) record and making the playoffs just once. As Lopez observes (via Twitter), the Pelicans were hit hard by injuries in recent years, but the team still had loftier expectations, especially considering Anthony Davis anchored the roster for the first four years of Gentry’s tenure.

A report earlier this week suggested there were strong signals that Griffin wanted to make a head coaching change, so today’s news doesn’t come as a major surprise. Gentry still had one year worth $5MM+ left on his contract, but it appears team ownership gave its approval to hire a new head coach while paying off the rest of that deal.

The Pelicans will now join the Bulls and Nets as teams seeking a new head coach. They’ll have a head start on Brooklyn, which won’t formally launch a search until its season is over.

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

As Wojnarowski reported last weekend, Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue and Lakers assistant Jason Kidd are expected to be among New Orleans’ top head coaching candidates. Lue, in particular, has a strong connection to Griffin, having coached the Cavaliers when Griffin was running the front office in Cleveland.

In their full story today on Gentry’s dismissal, Wojnarowski and Lopez suggest former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson will also receive consideration from the Pelicans, as will Nets interim coach Jacque Vaughn if Brooklyn doesn’t retain him. As Woj and Lopez note, New Orleans’ general manager, Trajan Langdon, was previously a member of the Nets’ front office, so he’s very familiar with both Atkinson and Vaughn.

Sam Amick of The Athletic also recently identified Mike D’Antoni as a dark-horse candidate to replace Gentry if the Rockets don’t retain him, noting that D’Antoni and Griffin previously worked together for several years in Phoenix.

The Pelicans’ job figures to be an appealing one, considering the roster is anchored by rising stars like Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, as well as veteran guard Jrue Holiday. While Holiday could become an unrestricted free agent as early as 2021, New Orleans should control Williamson and Ingram for years to come — Zion is entering the second year of his rookie contract, while Ingram is eligible for restricted free agency this fall.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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33 thoughts on “Pelicans Fire Head Coach Alvin Gentry

  1. mlbnyyfan

    Should of played Zion more could of saved his job. The only reason to play regular games was to hope to get Zion to the 8th seed. Should of just started the playoffs from the beginning

    • wagner13

      I’m pretty sure Griffin instructed the team to gradually increase Zion’s minutes. That wasn’t solely on Gentry. The underachievement and lethargic performance in the bubble on the other hand, is on him

    • x%sure

      Play ZW more to pacify fans?— but he did not help winning. Gentry was fired for losing games, not for disappointing certain neutral fans. Griffin was the one putting ZW on minutes restrictions anyway.

      • Appalachian_Outlaw

        Exactly that, x. If you don’t handle Zion like fine china and he goes down again, I wouldn’t want to be THAT coach.

        I guarantee those minute restrictions came from above, anyway.

        Ultimately, he was fired because he didn’t win. There was nothing more to it. Coaching is a rough profession. If you don’t meet expectations, you find yourself out quickly.

  2. Yeah Zion should’ve played more. I know they’re trying to be careful with him and injuries and stuff, but he has all that time before the restart to heal up. They should’ve at least increased the time he was on the floor by like 5 minutes. They could’ve won maybe 2 or 3 games minimum if they did. He might’ve been able to keep his job if he won a couple more games, I don’t think he NEEDED to make the playoffs. But dang they played bad. Great offensive mind but no defense at all. That said Kenny gotta be the choice with what he did with the young team in Brooklyn.

  3. jacobsigel1025

    When it’s all said and done, this might be the most desirable vacancy on the market. Yes Brooklyn is open right now, but they face the pressure of a big market. Yes there’s also Durant and Kyrie, but the Pelicans are extremely young

    • phenomenalajs

      I think Vaughn has earned the Brooklyn job. I don’t see the Nets seriously going after Popovich despite Marks connection to him since they would probably have to give the Spurs a pick to release him from his contract.

  4. stretch123

    D’Antoni please. Just so I can see Zion in his style of offense. Could be a train wreck but could also make Zion a heck of a scorer.

  5. x%sure

    The Pels turned into more of a mess than expected. Gentry made more sense with the AD teams than the current kids. Not making the playoffs was about being in the tough WC… Now it’s about Ingram and ZW not being able to be primary together. primary
    I thought NAW would be better but he may also be hard to direct.

  6. That’s a shame, it was awesome seeing how excited he was when the pels won the lottery. He was put in a tough spot with Zions restrictions but wish him the best wherever he ends up

    • Jrue Holiday is a terrific player… on both ends of the floor. And Brandon Ingram is finally showing us why he was picked number 2 in the NBA draft. They’re coming along nicely. They just need to fiddle with the roster a little bit.

  7. Sillivan

    Shooting is the most important
    Holiday has declined,can’t shoot any more
    Ingram and Ball are not defensive coordinators
    Still 3 years away to make playoffs

    • NFL's San Diego Waves

      You know sometimes it’s better to say nothing and let people think you’re a fool, than to type comments and tell everyone you’re a fool.

      He hasnt declined in shooting. His shooting averages are right around his career averages.

      FG% this year .455 vs career .453

      3P% this year .353 vs career .354

      2P% .506 vs. career .488

      eFG% .516 vs career .500

      His FTs were down this year .709 vs. career .777

      • wagner13

        Ignore his comments; he just spouts random nonsense without facts or evidence

        • KnickerbockerAl

          He tries. But it gets away from him most times. I wonder if he does this on purpose sometimes lol.

          • x%sure

            He could be traderumours management, stirring up action in the comment section with dumb posts. The lack of sentences would be to avoid recognition!


    For all the praise lonzo gets, is he really a winning player.. he mailed it in when the team needed him the most.. he’s not a winner.. stats regress when you don’t work on your game and his work ethic is suspect.. year 1 to year 3, identical stats.. ingram year 1 to year 3 huge strides.. ingram works on his game

    • Chucktoad1

      I’d have to disagree. Lonzo has developed into one of the best perimeter defenders in the game, especially at the point of attack. He reworked his jumper to be actually above average from deep. He’s a pass first PG so he’ll never put up 20+ a game for a season. That’s fine though as long he sets up Ingram and Zion they won’t need him to score. Just play solid D, knock down 3s and pass ahead to the aforementioned future stars


        Lonzo shot just 33% on 2-pointers, 28% on 3-pointers and 56% on free throws.. that is him not working on his game.. I agree that lonzo is a good defender.. he is not one of the best.. he doesn’t guard the other teams best player.. so to say he’s one of the best, hardly..Avery Bradley ranked ahead of him defensively and he took the other teams top offensive player.

    • x%sure

      Lonzo had a sophomore slump with another team to get over… I don’t think he’s the problem. Ingram worked with blinders at building his stats but next year he will be settled too.

      • Appalachian_Outlaw

        Yeah, Lonzo is fine if you accept him for the player he is. He isn’t a superstar, but he could be a key piece on a winner.

        Ingram is more talented, but it’s difficult not to question the fit beside Zion. I’d give it another year to attempt to gel but the possibility is very real that it won’t. If it doesn’t, they may have to look into turning Ingram into 2-3 better fitting pieces.

        • Chucktoad1

          Brandon Ingram on a sign and trade for Wiggins and the warriors unprotected 1st.

  9. goldenmisfit

    The biggest problem with the pelicans is they are in the wrong conference. They really should be in the east but then there in the west I don’t see them anytime soon being any higher than a seventh seed. Lakers, Clippers, Nuggets are not going away anytime soon and you know the spurs are not going to be bad for too long and Portland just had a down year. They have a very young team that can be promising but being they are in the Western Conference I don’t think it looks too good as far as if they have title aspirations.

  10. DwanFulwood

    Monty…the full Monty Williams is who the Pelicans need to replace Gentry. Devin Booker coming with him seals the playoff deal. Give up the Laker draft picks Holiday and Hart.

  11. DwanFulwood 2

    Monty…the full Monty Williams is who the Pelicans need to replace Gentry. Devin Booker coming with him seals the playoff deal. Give up the Laker draft picks Holiday and Hart.

  12. El Don

    Good news for NOLA! I think Gentry is a nice guy but… I mean he had the best ever pair of bigs together (AD/DMC) & didn’t make it to the playoffs??? That is just plain bad on him!

  13. KnickerbockerAl

    Gentry did underperform. You know it was coming. Atkinson is a good choice. Has a lot to prove. And works well with young team. Pelicans have good young talent. Plus they can move Holiday for gd value. They should be in playoffs next yr. Better get Zion a cook lol. He’ll never last like this. 260lbs should be his limit.

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