Alvin Gentry has reportedly been relieved of his duties as head coach of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez were the first to report on his official dismissal from the job via Twitter on Saturday. The Pelicans just wrapped up a season in which they compiled a 30-42 record and failed to qualify for postseason play.
With the team boasting a roster that included the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Zion Williamson, first-time All-Star Brandon Ingram, former No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball and quality veterans in Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick, New Orleans had appeared to be in the mix for a playoff spot before the 2019-20 campaign tipped off. However, Gentry’s club lost 13 consecutive games early in the season, dropping its record to 7-22 at the time and facilitating the need for the team to put together several lengthy winning stretches to even get back into the postseason race.
Although the Pelicans were able to do so, they ultimately disappointed during their eight-game stint in the NBA’s Orlando, Florida restart bubble, losing six of the contests to close out the year and continuing to display the defensive struggles that plagued them at times throughout the year. As a result, the club finished in 13th place in the Western Conference.
As shared previously by The Inquisitr, the 65-year-old Gentry’s standing with the organization had reportedly been on shaky ground for some time. Before the current iteration of the Pelicans were constructed, he similarly failed to achieve any level of sustained success with perennial All-Star and MVP candidate Anthony Davis still on the roster. Over his five years at the helm in New Orleans, he compiled a record of 175-225 and qualified for the playoffs just once, in 2018.
Per Wojnarowski’s ESPN report, Gentry never established any level of consistency with his lineups during his tenure, having employed a combined 140 different starting combinations in five years. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the most of any team over that span.
Gentry’s dismissal will have financial implications for the Pelicans, as he had received an extension following the Pelicans’ playoff campaign that ran through the 2020-21 season.
In the wake of Gentry’s removal, Pelicans General Manager David Griffin is said to be considering Tyronn Lue, with whom he previously worked when the two were employed by the Cleveland Cavaliers, as a possible coaching candidate, as well as Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson and Jacque Vaughn, who was Atkinson’s interim replacement in Brooklyn.