The Pelicans have announced that they released coach Alvin Gentry on Saturday, after missing the playoffs four of the past five seasons. He led the Pelicans to a 30-42 record this season and an underwhelming 2-6 record in the bubble. New Orleans’ disappointing performance in Orlando comes after having the easiest schedule of any team.
This news comes in tandem with the firing of Bulls coach Jim Boylen.
David Griffin, executive vice president of basketball operations for the Pelicans, had this say regarding Gentry’s dismissal.
“I’m grateful for and appreciative of Alvin’s commitment to the organization and, most importantly, the local community,” Griffin said. “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.”
Underwhelming Play in the Bubble
New Orleans was poised to be in serious contention for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. However, they posted the seventh-worst defense in the bubble and saw Zion Williamson hindered by minute restrictions. Gentry was often criticized for implementing poor player rotations, and for mishandling the talent at his disposal.
Owner Gayle Benson thanked Gentry for his contributions to the team and the city. However, Benson felt that this was the right decision.
“I want to thank Alvin for his contributions to the Pelicans and the New Orleans community.,” Gayle said. “We believe that making a head coaching change is necessary at this time. I truly appreciate Alvin’s leadership, dedication, and perseverance through some challenging circumstances over the past five seasons. He will always be a part of our Pelicans family, and we wish him and his family all the best in the future. Our intention moving forward is to find the right head coach that will guide this Pelicans team to compete for championships. That is what our fans deserve.”
The Future Is Bright for New Orleans
Franchise talent Zion Williamson is at the center of the Pelicans’ future. In addition to Zion is a promising young core, with Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Lonzo Ball. This makes for one of the most intriguing coaching positions in the league. Expected to be on the short list of candidates are Tyronn Lue and Jason Kidd. David Griffin has ties to both of the former coaches.
Alvin Gentry started with the Pelicans in 2015 and made the playoffs in his third year. Despite having an overall record of 175-225 in five seasons with New Orleans, he is still the winningest coach in franchise playoff history (5-4).