Alvin Gentry

Pacific Notes: Leonard, Westbrook, Curry, Gentry, Kings

After missing all of last season with a knee injury, Kawhi Leonard pronounced himself ready for training camp, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes.

“For me individually, I’ll be participating in training camp,” the Clippers‘ star forward said. “Then from there, just seeing how my progression is, how I feel, what I’m not feeling, is it moving correctly, and just keep going from there, just gradually building up. But right now, I feel good, and the plan is to start camp and play.”

[RELATED: Kawhi Leonard Cleared, But Clippers Will Remain Cautious]

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Russell Westbrook was unusually blunt when asked on Monday if he feels the Lakers truly want him on the roster, according to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register“Whether they want me here or not doesn’t really matter, honestly,” Westbrook said. “My job is to be professional, show up to work, like I’ve always done. Thus far, I did my job the best way I know how to and that’s it. I mean, you all have jobs – sometimes people at our jobs don’t like us or don’t want us there.”
  • Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green could be on the free agent market next summer, but Stephen Curry hopes that the current group of Warriors can remain in place, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. “You want that to be the spirit of how decisions are made, and we want the best chance to win every single year. And we’re proving with this squad, that’s what the results have been,” he said. “So, we want to keep that together for as long as we can. That’s the goal.”
  • Former head coach Alvin Gentry has been named the Kings’ VP of basketball engagement, according to a team press releaseMark Toyoda has been elevated to  senior director of basketball administration. Melanie Stocking has been promoted to senior director of team operations. Saagar Sarin has been promoted to director of pro personnel and Aram Palamoudian has been promoted to basketball operations coordinator.

Alvin Gentry Remains With Kings In Front Office Role

Alvin Gentry has accepted a full-time position in the Kings‘ front office, according to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link), who report that Gentry’s title will be vice president of basketball engagement.

Gentry began the 2021/22 season as an assistant on Luke Walton‘s coaching staff, then became the interim head coach when the Kings dismissed Walton in November. Sacramento went just 24-41 under Gentry, so the club opted not to keep him in that role going forward and has since announced the hiring of Mike Brown as its new head coach.

Although the Kings decided not to retain Gentry as their head coach, he still had a year left on his contract, and reports last month suggested the two sides were discussing a possible front office position. Subsequent reporting indicated that Gentry explored the possibility of becoming a coaching consultant, like Steve Clifford was with the Nets in 2021/22, but he and the Kings ultimately reached an agreement on a move to the front office.

The plan is for Gentry to assist with the Kings’ player evaluation and team-building strategy, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, who tweets that the 67-year-old will be based in Sacramento but will travel to NBA, G League, and college sites. Gentry is with general manager Monte McNair and other Kings executives at the NBA’s draft combine in Chicago this week, per Charania and Amick.

Mark Jackson Frontrunner To Become New Kings Coach?

The Kings are interviewing the three finalistsMark Jackson, Steve Clifford and Mike Brown — for their vacant head coaching position this week, and it looks as if one might have the upper hand. League sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report that Jackson appears to be the frontrunner for the job and the favored choice of owner Vivek Ranadive.

Ranadive, who was the vice chairman of the Warriors when Jackson was their head coach from 2011-14, has long been an admirer of Jackson and pushed Sacramento’s front office to consider him for the lead assistant/associate head coach position that ultimately went to Alvin Gentry in 2020, sources tell Fischer.

It has been previously reported that the Kings are searching for a defensive-minded coach with previous head coaching experience, and all three finalists check those boxes. However, Ranadive is said to be looking for a vocal, public face for the franchise to create a day-to-day identity, according to Fischer, who notes that Jackson is popular among players.

A report last month indicated that LeBron James would be “enthused” to see Jackson as a candidate for the Lakers‘ vacancy, and sources tell Fischer that LaMelo Ball also favors Jackson for the Hornets‘ opening.

One major wrinkle to the notion that Jackson appears to be the favored choice of Ranadive is that the owner has repeatedly told colleagues around the league that general manager Monte McNair has full authority over the team’s basketball operations. Fischer points out that the decision to fire Luke Walton early in the season came from McNair, not Ranadive.

McNair appears to be leaning toward Brown as his top candidate for the position, multiple sources tell Fischer. Brown also has Warriors ties – he has been an assistant coach for Golden State for the past six years – and used to work with Kings assistant GM Wes Wilcox when the two were with Cleveland.

Fischer writes that if Jackson isn’t selected for the position, it could be partly because Joe Dumars left the organization to work in the league office — Dumars wanted to hire Jackson to become Detroit’s head coach in 2011. Dumors reportedly wanted more control over Sacramento’s front office, with McNair reporting to him instead of Ranadive, but the owner wasn’t interested in that arrangement.

As for former interim head coach Gentry, sources tell Bleacher Report that he’s been offered a role in Sacramento’s front office, but Gentry is looking into pursuing a job as a consultant, similar to the role Clifford recently held with the Nets.

Kings Not Retaining Alvin Gentry As Head Coach

1:06pm: The Kings have officially confirmed that Gentry won’t be back as the team’s head coach.

“The entire Kings organization is grateful for the leadership of Alvin Gentry, who stepped up when he got the call mid-season,” GM Monte McNair said in a statement. “We appreciate his leadership on and off the court.”

Although Gentry is out as head coach, he still may stick with the organization. Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that Gentry and the Kings are discussing a possible front office position, with a resolution expected later this week.

12:37pm: The Kings have informed Alvin Gentry that he’s no longer the team’s head coach, according to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link), who report that Sacramento will immediately launch a “comprehensive” search for a new coach.

Gentry was named the Kings’ interim head coach just 17 games into the 2021/22 season following the ouster of Luke Walton. After starting 6-11 under Walton, the Kings were hopeful that Gentry could lead the team to at least a spot in the play-in tournament. However, Sacramento went just 24-41 the rest of the way and finished in the lottery for a 16th consecutive season.

Gentry, who has previous head coaching experience with the Heat, Pistons, Clippers, Suns, and Pelicans, previously stuck around following interim stints in Detroit and Phoenix to become those teams’ permanent head coaches, but that won’t happen in Sacramento. It appears he’ll be in the market for a new job this spring despite having spoken on Sunday about wanting to remain with the franchise.

“Obviously, I have a desire (to stay),” Gentry said, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “I love it here and I think we’re on the right path. We’ve got some good pieces. We’ve got good people from our medical staff all the way up to the top. It has been done here before. It’s not something that’s impossible to do. It’s been done here before, so you just have to wait and see, but all of those things, I don’t make those decisions, so whatever happens, if it doesn’t work out, then I’ve had a great two years here. Love the people here. Love the franchise.”

The Kings, meanwhile, will conduct a wide-ranging search that includes candidates who have previously turned lottery teams into playoff clubs, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Marc Stein previously identified Terry Stotts, Mike D’Antoni, Mike Brown and Steve Clifford as names who have come up in coaching circles as possible targets for Sacramento. Wojnarowski confirms that Clifford and Brown are expected to be considered and adds Kenny Atkinson, Mark Jackson, and Bucks assistants Charles Lee and Darvin Ham to the list of potential candidates.

Rick Adelman was the last coach to take the Kings to the postseason, back in 2006. Since then, Sacramento has employed 11 different head coaches — the new hire will be the 12th.

Kings Notes: Gentry, Jones, Metu, Mitchell

Alvin Gentry will likely coach his final game with the Kings today, but he didn’t want to talk about his future Saturday night, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. In a pre-game meeting with reporters, Gentry brushed aside the topic when asked if he wants to remain with the organization beyond this season.

“I’ve not talked to anybody about that and I’m sure that’s going to come quickly after the season is over, so I’ll leave it at that,” Gentry said. “I’m sure that’s something that’s going to happen pretty quickly after the season.”

Gentry, who started the season as the team’s associate head coach, was promoted to interim coach in November when Sacramento decided to fire Luke Walton 17 games into the season. Gentry was previously able to remain as head coach of the Pistons and Suns after taking over those teams on an interim basis, but it doesn’t appear that will happen with the Kings, who are reportedly looking at established names such as Mike D’Antoni and Terry Stotts, among others.

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • More changes are expected after another losing season, and they could include Damian Jones, who is headed for free agency after spending his first full season with the Kings. The 26-year-old center played 55 games this year, starting 14, and averaged a career-high 7.9 points per night. “We’ll see what happens in the summer,” he said Saturday when asked about his free agent plans. “… I’ve gained more chemistry with the guys and we see eye-to-eye on some things, so we’ll see what happens when that time comes.” (Twitter link from Anderson)
  • Chimezie Metu is also uncertain about his future, tweets James Ham of ESPN 1320. Metu became a regular part of a rotation this season for the first time in his four-year NBA career, playing 59 games and averaging 8.9 points and 5.6 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per night. However, his $1.91MM contract for next season is non-guaranteed. “The one thing I learned about this league really fast is that situations can change really fast,” Metu said. “You can’t fall in love with your situation, whether it’s good or bad. Wherever I end up, whether it’s here, another team, it is what it is.”
  • Losing has been an adjustment for Davion Mitchell, who won an NCAA title last season at Baylor, but he believes things are going to improve, Anderson adds in a separate story. Before setting the franchise mark for assists by a rookie in a single game earlier this week, Mitchell addressed Sacramento fans and promised, “This offseason we’re going to get better and make you guys proud.”

D’Antoni, Stotts Among Kings’ Coaching Targets?

There appears to be a growing expectation that the Kings won’t name Alvin Gentry as their full-time head coach, Marc Stein reports at Substack. Gentry was named interim head coach when the franchise fired Luke Walton back in November.

Sacramento is believed to be seeking a veteran coach, according to Stein, who says that Terry Stotts, Mike D’Antoni, Mike Brown and Steve Clifford have been mentioned in league coaching circles as potential targets. Stotts and D’Antoni are coaching free agents, while Brown (Warriors assistant) and Clifford (Nets coaching consultant) currently work for teams.

The Kings will miss the playoffs for the 16th straight time this season, the longest streak in NBA history. The team has seen seven head coaches in the last decade: Keith Smart, Michael Malone, Tyrone Corbin, George Karl, Dave Joerger, Walton and Gentry.

Stotts, D’Antoni, Brown and Clifford all hold experience as former head coaches. Stein notes that D’Antoni has a strong relationship with Kings general manager Monte McNair, as both were together in Houston from 2016-20. Stotts is also expected to receive interest on the coaching market this summer.

Injury Notes: Allen, Mobley, McDaniels, Powell, Fox, Sabonis

Discussions about Jarrett Allen‘s potential return for the Cavaliers have gravitated toward “if” rather than “when,” according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The team has said Allen is making progress in his recovery from a broken finger and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of him returning before the regular season ends on Sunday, but his finger was still in a splint this weekend, says Vardon.

Even if Allen is able to play soon, it’s “highly unlikely” that he’ll be 100% effective, says Chris Fedor of (Twitter link). In Fedor’s view, Evan Mobley – who has missed four games with a sprained ankle and wasn’t walking with a limp after Sunday’s game – is a better bet to be fully effective, or at least close to it, when he returns.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels, who has been out since March 14 due to a high left ankle sprain, “looks really good” in his scrimmages, head coach Chris Finch said on Sunday (link via Chris Hine of The Star Tribune). The Wolves will formally reevaluate McDaniels on Monday. Finch expects him to be on a minutes limit when he returns, per Hine.
  • Clippers forwards Paul George and Marcus Morris hinted after Sunday’s game that Norman Powell could be close to returning from his left foot injury, according to Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group, who notes that the injured swingman took part in an on-court pregame workout. “It’ll be great for Norm if he could get back out there in the next game or two, just to get a good feel back,” Morris said.
  • With the Kings officially eliminated from playoff contention, head coach Alvin Gentry acknowledged that shutting down De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis will likely be “something we’ll talk about” (Twitter link via Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee). Fox has missed Sacramento’s last eight games due to a hand injury, while Sabonis has been out for six games due to a knee issue.

Pacific Notes: Gentry, LeBron, Suns, Westbrook

Kings interim coach Alvin Gentry knows his days in Sacramento may be numbered, but he declined to speak about his future this week, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes. Gentry became the team’s interim head coach when Luke Walton was fired back in November.

“There would be no reason whatsoever to discuss it right now,” Gentry said. “The season is going to be over in the next two weeks and then from there, we’ll sit down and talk and figure out the direction that everything should be taken.”

Sacramento owns the 12th-best record in the West at 29-49 and is on the verge of being eliminated from play-in contention. Gentry joined the franchise in 2020 after a five-year stint as the Pelicans’ head coach. His coaching career began as an assistant at Baylor during the 1980/81 season.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division today:

  • The Lakers lost a marquee game against the Pelicans at home on Friday, recording its fifth consecutive loss. The team now trails San Antonio by one game (and a tiebreaker) for the No. 10 spot in the West. “The big picture is it was pretty much a must-win for us, and we didn’t get the job done,” LeBron James said, according to Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group (Twitter link).
  • The Suns plan to rest three starters against the Thunder on Sunday, Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic tweets. Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder all won’t play. Phoenix is coming off a 122-114 loss to the Grizzlies on Friday. Memphis was missing Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Steven Adams in the contest.
  • Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports hosted a wide-ranging interview with Lakers star Russell Westbrook, who’s in the midst of a tumultuous season with the team. When Westbrook was asked why he hasn’t taken time off despite being scrutinized by fans, he replied, “Because it’s bigger than me, man. I’m super blessed to have a platform to be able to help show and help other people. So I’m very prideful in showing people on the outside that regardless of the situation, the circumstances that I may be going through, there are ways to be able to get through it. I strongly believe that if I’m healthy, then I’ll be able to play and go out and compete.”

Pacific Notes: DiVincenzo, Sarver, Wiseman, Powell

Kings guard Donte DiVincenzo is coming off his best game since being traded from Milwaukee to Sacramento at last month’s deadline. On Wednesday, facing his old Bucks team, he put up 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting (4-of-8 on threes), chipping in four rebounds and three steals.

According to James Ham of ESPN 1320 in Sacramento (Twitter link), head coach Alvin Gentry said after Wednesday’s game that there’s a good chance DiVincenzo will move permanently into the Kings’ starting lineup before the regular season is over. Gentry added that he almost made that move for Wednesday’s contest.

DiVincenzo started all 66 games he played in 2020/21 for Milwaukee, but has started just one of 31 games for the Bucks and Kings this season following his return from ankle surgery.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • A coalition of social justice activists is calling on the NBA to remove Robert Sarver as the owner of the Suns, writes Howard Beck of The American Sports Accountability Project published a letter on its new website stating that the group is “profoundly disturbed by the reports of racism, misogyny and abusive behavior allegedly committed” by Sarver. An independent investigation into the allegations against Sarver is ongoing.
  • After playing three games in the G League, center James Wiseman was recalled to the NBA by the Warriors on Wednesday. He’s practicing with the team this week and could make his season debut with Golden State as early as Sunday, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
  • Clippers wing Norman Powell, who is recovering from a fractured left foot, had the boot removed from his foot this week, tweets Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. There’s still no guarantee that Powell, who last played on February 10, will be back before the regular season ends in 23 days.

Nuggets Notes: Jokic, Cousins, Morris

Kings coach Alvin Gentry believes Nikola Jokic deserves to win back-to-back MVP awards, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets. Jokic carried Denver past Sacramento on Wednesday with 38 points, 18 rebounds and seven assists. “He’s just a different beast. He doesn’t get shaken,” Gentry said. “He just does what they need to do to win the game…Watching him play, it’s hard to believe that he won’t be the MVP again.”

We have more on the Nuggets:

  • Despite winning the MVP last season, Jokic still doesn’t get the same recognition as some other NBA stars. Jokic says it doesn’t bother him that he’s not one of “faces” of the NBA, as he told Rohan Nadarni of Sports Illustrated. “I don’t think about it. It would be a really nice thing, yes,” Jokic said. “I don’t want that or need that. I’m fine with where I am right now with my status in the NBA.”
  • DeMarcus Cousins has given the team another dimension, Mark Schindler of Basketball News writes. The Nuggets are 13-1 in games in which Cousins has played. He has bolstered their bench and developed chemistry with Bones Hyland on pick-and-roll situations. Cousins was signed for the remainder of the season late last month.
  • Monte Morris has been an unheralded reason for the Nuggets’ 12-2 record over the past 14 games, Mike Singer of the Denver Post notes. He’s averaging 13.5 PPG, 4.9 APG and 2.8 RPG during that span. “Him and Nikola have the same kind of impact,” coach Michael Malone said. “We take our time, we get set, we space the floor, we read the defense. He knows that Nikola’s going to garner so much attention, he’s got to keep the defense honest.”