The New Orleans Pelicans Dismissed Alvin Gentry After The Bubble

After a disappointing showing in the Bubble seeding games, the New Orleans Pelicans have parted ways with head coach Alvin Gentry, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

The Pelicans went 2-6 in Orlando and in their first day home, the team has decided to do what had been rumored for some time, dismissing the head coach who has led the team since 2015. Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin will — despite having a previous connection with Gentry dating back to their time together in Phoenix — now have the opportunity to hire his own coach for the first time since taking over in New Orleans.

The Pelicans confirmed the move shortly after in a release.

“I’m grateful for and appreciative of Alvin’s commitment to the organization and, most importantly, the local community,” said Griffin in a statement from the team. “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.”

Under Gentry, the Pelicans had long struggled to defend consistently, even dating back to the previous era with All-NBA big man Anthony Davis anchoring the middle, when they never ranked higher than ninth on that end. It’s a reputation and difficulty that has followed the 65-year-old Gentry throughout his career.

“I want to thank Alvin for his contributions to the Pelicans and the New Orleans community,” added Pelicans Owner Gayle Benson in the team statement. “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.”

According to multiple reports shortly after Gentry’s reported dismissal, the Pelicans are expected to follow suit with Brooklyn and pursue both Ty Lue and Jason Kidd as replacements for Gentry.

In a story at ESPN, Wojnarowski and Lopez also noted New Orleans would be interested in Nets interim head coach Jacque Vaughn should Brooklyn replace him at the end of the season. Vaughn has led his team in quite the opposite manner in Orlando, pushing the depleted Nets to a 5-3 record.

With a very promising young core that includes All-Star Brandon Ingram and 2019 No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson, the Pelicans will have a big opportunity to take a step forward in 2020-21 under Gentry’s replacement.