With the New Orleans Pelicans mathematically eliminated from playoff contention as of Sunday, reports suggest that the team’s next move might be to fire head coach Alvin Gentry after five years with the organization.
As noted on Monday by William Guillory of subscriber-only publication The Athletic (via NBC Sports), the Pelicans’ apparent plan to let go of Gentry is the NBA’s “worst-kept secret” at the moment. This report came two days after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote that the organization’s top officials, including executive vice president David Griffin, have a big “decision” to make regarding the veteran coach as he enters the final year of his contract.
“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 [Tyronn] Lue and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd,” Wojnarowski continued.
Commenting on the rumors, NBC Sports wrote that the team was “never quite as good as the sum of its parts” despite boasting a lineup with a talented young core of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Jaxson Hayes, and Josh Hart, as well as reliable veterans Jrue Holiday, J.J. Redick, and Derrick Favors. The outlet opined that Gentry is partly responsible for the unit’s failure to make the playoffs, considering that he is an offensive-minded leader who didn’t do much to fix the “scrambled” defense but also made questionable lineup decisions that “rarely maximized the offense.”
As noted by Bleacher Report, the Pelicans’ hopes of sneaking into the postseason officially ended on Sunday when the Portland Trail Blazers, who are now at ninth in the Western Conference, edged the Philadelphia 76ers. This came on the same day that the team lost to the San Antonio Spurs, who rank 10th in the West and are also hoping to unseat the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed in the conference playoffs.
Regarding the people Wojnarowski mentioned as potential replacements for Gentry, NBC Sports pointed out that it’s not too surprising Lue and Kidd might be in the running for his job. Lue, as noted, has a “great record” with Griffin dating back to their time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, while Kidd’s name has previously been brought up in multiple coaching vacancy rumors. However, the publication stressed that it’s highly likely more candidates will emerge in the coming days as the possibility of Gentry’s dismissal continues to loom large.
As shown on his Basketball-Reference page, Gentry has a career win-loss record of 510-593 as an NBA head coach. In half a decade with New Orleans, the 65-year-old has posted a 175-223 record with just one playoff appearance.