The New Orleans Pelicans dismissed coach Alvin Gentry, sources told ESPN on Saturday morning.
After a disappointing performance in the NBA’s Orlando restart, the franchise moved quickly on Gentry’s removal. Gentry had one year left on his contract.
This will be an opportunity for Executive VP David Griffin to use the Pelicans’ talented young roster — including No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson and All-Star Brandon Ingram — as cornerstones to be aggressive in the coaching marketplace.
Among those coaches expected to be part of the Pelicans search: Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, Clippers assistant Ty Lue and former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, sources said. The Pelicans are also expected to have an interest in Brooklyn interim coach Jacque Vaughn, should the Nets decide not to retain him, sources said.
Griffin (GM) and Lue (head coach) were together with the Cleveland Cavaliers when the franchise won an NBA title in 2016. Griffin has history with Kidd back to their days together with the Phoenix Suns.
Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon was the assistant GM with Brooklyn during Atkinson’s successful tenure.
New Orleans hired Gentry in 2015 from Golden State‘s coaching staff, fresh off an NBA championship.
In Gentry’s five seasons, the Pelicans went 175-225 although often beset with injuries. Gentry was forced to use a combined 140 starting lineups in five seasons. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the most of any team in the past five seasons and 11 more than the next-closest team (Dallas).
In Gentry’s first season, he used 42 starting lineups — most in any one season over the past five years according to Elias.
The 175 victories places Gentry second all-time in Hornets/Pelicans franchise history, trailing only Byron Scott. Gentry also leaves as the only coach in franchise history to have a winning record (5-4) in the playoffs.