Alvin Gentry

Pacific Notes: Vassell, Brown, Williams, Gentry

The Warriors like Florida State’s Devin Vassell enough to consider him with the No. 2 pick and he would be their likely target if they decide to trade down, writes Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. Multiple sources tell Letourneau that Golden State views Vassell as the best wing defender in the draft and a long-term replacement for Andre Iguodala.

Vassell is 6’7″ with a 7-foot wingspan and has the versatility to be an effective defender at four positions. Not only does he specialize in forcing turnovers, he’s also a reliable shooter, hitting 41.5% from 3-point range this season. Leonard Hamilton, Vassell’s college coach, compares him to Klay Thompson.

“I always tell people that he’s very similar to Thompson,” Hamilton said. “If you look at his shooting stats at Washington State, they’re similar to Devin’s. He’s long, lean, athletic.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors assistant Mike Brown “made a strong impression” during his interview with the Clippers and has become “an emerging candidate” to be the team’s next head coach, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.
  • The Suns turned out to be the perfect opportunity for Monty Williams, who hadn’t been a head coach since 2014/15, notes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Williams led the team to a 34-39 record, including a perfect 8-0 mark after the restart. “When I got the opportunity in Phoenix, it was a lot of things that went into it,” Williams said. “It wasn’t just a basketball fit for me. It was a fit for my family because I had moved them around from New Orleans to Oklahoma City, back to San Antonio and then we go to Philly and I’m going to move them again. So I was looking for a family fit. I needed, obviously for me, to pray about it and make sure I had the peace that I needed to take on another job because it requires a lot of energy, a ton of time and I had to have a peace about doing it again.”
  • New associate head coach Alvin Gentry fits in perfectly with the Kings‘ up-tempo philosophy, writes Tracee Jay of NBA.com. Under Gentry, the Pelicans led the league in pace in 2017/18 and were second in 2018/19.

Kings Hire Alvin Gentry As Associate Head Coach

OCTOBER 7: The Kings’ hiring of Gentry is now official, the team announced in a press release.

“I’m excited to add Alvin’s valuable experience and leadership to the team,” Walton said in a statement. “His veteran coaching perspective will be a great addition and I look forward to working with him again to continue developing our group.”


OCTOBER 6: The Kings have reached agreement with former Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry to make him an associate head coach on Luke Walton’s staff, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

The Sixers were interested in adding Gentry to Doc Rivers’ staff in the same role, Stein adds. Walton and Gentry worked together on Steve Kerr’s staff with the Warriors.

Sacramento’s interest in Gentry was revealed last week. He was Buddy Hield‘s first head coach. Hield’s four-year extension begins next season and he reportedly wasn’t returning Walton’s phone calls.

Gentry was fired in mid-August after the Pelicans played poorly during the restart and failed to make the playoffs. Gentry spent five seasons as the head coach in New Orleans, compiling a 175-225 (.438) record and making the playoffs just once. He’s also been a head coach with the Clippers, Pistons and Suns.

Sacramento had an opening after former Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov left Walton’s staff in July to become the head coach of EuroLeague team Fenerbahce.

Buddy Hield Unhappy, Won’t Take Walton Calls

Buddy Hield is causing another stir, this time by saying nothing.

Hield, whose big four-year extension kicks in next season, is refusing to answer any of coach Luke Walton‘s phone calls, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic.

Hield hinted at a trade demand before the Kings front office handed him an extension worth up to $106MM, with $86MM in guarantees plus an additional $20MM in incentives.

His statistics took a tumble in Walton’s first season at the Kings’ head coach. He averaged 19.2 PPG while shooting 42.9% overall and 39.4% from deep. He also averaged a career-high 2.3 turnovers.

In his third season prior to signing the extension, Hield posted averages of 20.7 PPG on .458/.427 shooting while committing 1.8 turnovers per game. He started all 82 games that season but came off the bench in 28 of 72 games this season.

Hield was reportedly unhappy with a sixth man role.

In order for Hield to be dealt, he’d have to be traded to a team with sufficient cap room. Alternatively, the team acquiring him would have to match salaries. He’s apparently expressed a desire to join the Sixers, as Jones notes that he liked an Instagram post linking him to a trade there. Hield also liked a news alert on Twitter about Doc Rivers being hired as the Sixers’ head coach.

The Sixers have some big contracts, most notably Al Horford and Tobias Harris, that they could look to deal.

Jones provides an interesting side note that might make Hield happier in Sacramento. Jones confirmed that the Kings are interested in hiring Hield’s former Pelicans coach, Alvin Gentry, as one of Walton’s top assistants.

In any case, the situation regarding Hield, who carries a team-high $24.9MM cap hit next year, bears watching.

Coaching Rumors: Gentry, Vanterpool, Rockets, Pelicans, More

After being dismissed by New Orleans in August, Alvin Gentry hasn’t been linked to any head coaching openings, but he’s reportedly drawing interest from multiple teams for a potential assistant role.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday evening (via Twitter) that Gentry has emerged as a “serious possibility” to join Doc Rivers‘ staff with the Sixers. The two veteran coaches have a pre-existing relationship, as Gentry was the associate head coach under Rivers during his first year with the Clippers in 2013/14.

While Philadelphia is one possibility for Gentry, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link) hears that New Orleans’ former head coach is also in the running to become the Kings‘ associate head coach under Luke Walton. Gentry and Walton were previously members of Golden State’s coaching staff during the 2014/15 season.

Here are a few more coaching rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • Timberwolves associate head coach David Vanterpool will be among the candidates interviewing for the Rockets‘ head coaching job, reports Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Vanterpool is also believed to be a candidate for Indiana and Oklahoma City, and was considered by Chicago before the club hired Billy Donovan.
  • Confirming a previous report from The Philadelphia Inquirer, Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter) that Tyronn Lue has meetings lined up with the Pelicans and Rockets. Lue is also a leading candidate for the Clippers‘ job, and Woj notes that L.A. is expected to begin meeting with candidates soon.
  • The Pelicans‘ head coaching search process is underway, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link), who hears that the plan is to eventually bring in two or three finalists for formal in-person interviews. It’s not clear when those face-to-face meetings will happen though, Lopez adds. A previous report on Lue’s meeting with New Orleans on Friday suggested it would be an “informal” discussion.
  • Some people with the Nets view Oklahoma City assistant Brian Keefe as a good fit for Steve Nash‘s staff in Brooklyn, writes Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Keefe was in OKC with Kevin Durant from 2007-15 and returned to the team last year, but isn’t a lock to be back with the Thunder after the club’s head coaching change.

More On Clippers-Doc Rivers Breakup

The Clippers’ decision to part ways with Doc Rivers could be the riskiest coaching change in NBA history, Kevin Pelton of ESPN opines. The team is rolling the dice with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George potentially opting out and becoming unrestricted free agents after next season. L.A.’s collapse against the Nuggets can be attributed to poor shooting, Pelton adds, as the Clippers took higher percentage shots than the Nuggets but made substantially fewer of them.

We have more on Rivers and the Clippers:

  • The Clippers’ front office concluded that issues that had cropped up during the season surfaced under the stress of the playoffs, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports. That led to the assessment that Rivers had to be held accountable for the team’s collapse.
  • By severing ties with Rivers, the Clippers indeed are blaming him for their playoff flop, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated opines. Could Phil Jackson be the answer? Jackson is 75 but he’s had time to recharge his batteries and this wouldn’t be a long-term job anyway, Mannix notes.
  • Tyronn Lue and Jeff Van Gundy are reportedly two of the former head coaches the Clippers will consider. Dan Loumena of the Los Angeles Times speculates that the Clippers might also consider assistant coach Sam Cassell, Chauncey Billups, Mark Jackson, Stan Van GundyMike D’Antoni, Nate McMillan, Kenny Atkinson, Alvin Gentry, Jason Kidd and Becky Hammon.
  • Lue is the 3-2 favorite to get the job, according to Bet Online, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. Van Gundy is the second choice at 3-1 with Billups surprisingly listed as the third choice at 4-1.
  • Add the Rockets to the list of teams interested in Rivers, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The Pelicans and 76ers have already made contact.

Latest On Alvin Gentry’s Firing

The decision to fire head coach Alvin Gentry was especially difficult for Pelicans VP of basketball operations David Griffin because of their long relationship, writes Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com. Griffin, who previously worked with Gentry in Phoenix, insisted the move wasn’t a result of the team’s disappointing 2-6 record in seeding games.

“I’ve known Alvin for more than 15 years, so this is really difficult on a human level,” Griffin said. “He hasn’t forgotten how to coach and this isn’t about any shortcomings. This is far more about finding the right fit and a shared vision for a very young and ambitious group moving forward.”

Griffin adds that the Pelicans intend to take their time in the search for a new coach, partly because of coronavirus-related restrictions that make in-person interviews challenging. He said the front office won’t be content to conduct the process through conference calls on Zoom and wants to talk to as many candidates face to face as possible.

“We will not be quick with this at all. This is not a rush,” he said. “We have a job that we believe is going to be the most attractive in the NBA, quite frankly. With all of the candidates still in the (Orlando) bubble – and there are some that may not be – candidates you may want to talk to are still with teams, in many circumstances.”

There’s more related to Gentry’s dismissal:

  • Despite the head coaching change, no moves will be made right away with the assistant coaches, Eichenhofer adds in the same story. “We feel very strongly about the assistant coaching staff we have,” Griffin said. “I’ve connected with almost all of them. We feel very strongly about the quality of staff we have. Some of those individuals potentially will be head coaching candidates elsewhere, Chris Finch certainly among them. He’ll be part of our conversation moving forward and it’s our intention that many of our staffers will continue to be with the next regime at some point.”
  • Sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic that Griffin began to have doubts about Gentry shortly after being hired by New Orleans in April of last year. He had reportedly been leaning toward a coaching change for a while, and the performance in Orlando made the decision easier.
  • The Pelicans’ priority should be to find a coach who can help star rookie Zion Williamson reach his potential as a defender, contends Kevin Pelton of ESPN (Insider link). Pelton points out that Williamson was a difference maker at Duke with 3.9 steals per 100 plays and a shot-blocking rate of 5.8% on two-point attempts. His NBA numbers were far below what his performance in college would suggest.

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 ESPN.com 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.

Pelicans Rumors: Gentry, Ingram, Ball, Zion

With the Pelicans‘ 2019/20 season set to come to an end following Thursday’s seeding game against the Magic, the next big question the team must answer revolves around Alvin Gentry‘s future. The veteran head coach has now made the postseason just once in five years since arriving in New Orleans.

While the Pelicans have had to deal with some injuries over the course of those five years, the team had loftier expectations, especially considering Anthony Davis was on the roster for those first four years. Additionally, New Orleans appeared to be in prime position to compete for the final playoff spot in the West this summer, but has played underwhelming basketball during the restart, losing five of its seven games, including two to Sacramento.

Within a discussion about the Pelicans’ offseason, Sam Amick of The Athletic says he’d be “very surprised” if Gentry is back for the 2020/21 season, suggesting there are strong signs that head of basketball operations David Griffin would like to make a change. In Amick’s view, Tyronn Lue and even Mike D’Antoni could be candidates worth keeping an eye on if New Orleans decides to move on from Gentry.

Still, Amick and fellow Athletic reporter David Aldridge caution that finances could play a part in the Pelicans’ decision. Gentry is owed more than $5MM for the 2020/21 season, the final year of his current deal. Team ownership may be reluctant to pay off that contract and pay a new head coach next season, given the financial impact the coronavirus pandemic has had.

Here’s more on Gentry and the Pelicans:

  • In an opinion column for NOLA.com, Scott Kushner makes the case for why the Pelicans should move on from Gentry, writing that the team’s “lethargic, uninspired” play during the restart served as “irrefutable evidence” that a new voice is needed.
  • Checking in on the Brandon Ingram situation in New Orleans, Shams Charania of The Athletic says that re-signing the young forward remains the plan for the Pelicans, who have remained in touch with agent Jeff Schwartz all season. Ingram is viewed as a likely maximum-salary player, Charania adds.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic has heard from sources at the NBA’s campus in Orlando that they expect “significant roster adjustments” for the Pelicans this offseason. Aldridge also hears that Lonzo Ball “looked like he’d checked out” during the restart.
  • Asked today about his offseason plans, Zion Williamson said he intends to work on his game and to “get his body where it needs to be,” tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Williamson didn’t offer additional specifics on where his body needs to be, indicating he needs to talk to the team about that.

Pelicans Notes: Williamson, Gentry, Favors, Ball

The Pelicans were a huge disappointment during the restart and it raises some long-term questions about the roster, according to William Guillory of The Athletic.

Zion Williamson didn’t show improvement in his ball-handling or defense despite the hiatus to work on those aspects of his game, and his weight and lack of conditioning were also issues. The staff was cautious regarding the rookie’s minutes and even sat him out for a game during a back-to-back.

The offseason could be complicated by decisions regarding the futures of Brandon Ingram, Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball and Derrick Favors with the franchise, Guillory adds.

We have more on the Pelicans:

  • The team’s poor finish has put Alvin Gentry firmly on the hot seat but he’d like to think the front office has faith in him, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets. Regarding the decision whether to retain him, Gentry replied: “That’s not in my job description. If it was, I wouldn’t fire myself.”
  • Favors said on Monday that he’d like to re-sign with the team, Guillory tweets. The 29-year-old big man heads into unrestricted free agency after averaging 9.0 PPG and 9.8 RPG this season. “Hopefully, they’ll have me back,” he said.
  • Ball was disappointed with his performance in Orlando but he’s generally pleased with how his first year in New Orleans unfolded, Mannix writes. “Overall, I think it was a positive experience,” Ball said. “I’m definitely looking forward to next year. I don’t think the whole season should be put on the bubble. Look at the whole year. We made a lot of growth … I’m proud of that.”
  • As we noted earlier, Williamson, Holiday and Ingram will sit out on Tuesday in what amounts to a meaningless game against Sacramento.

Lue, Kidd Possibilities For Pelicans If Gentry Not Retained

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry has just one more year left on his contract, making his future in New Orleans somewhat unclear. In four seasons prior to 2019/20, Gentry has led the Pelicans to just one postseason appearance, a conference semifinals exit at the hands of the Warriors.

If New Orleans decides to move on from Gentry, two candidates the organization may pursue are current Clippers assistant coach Tyronn Lue and current Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

As Wojnarowski notes, Pelicans’ executive vice president David Griffin has relationships with both Lue and Kidd from his front office days with the Cavaliers and Suns.

Lue was Cleveland’s head coach during the organization’s championship-winning season in 2016. Griffin spent 17 seasons within the Suns organization, during which time Kidd evolved into one of the NBA’s elites from 1996-01.