The basketball gods gave the New Orleans Pelicans a major gift on Tuesday night, and the reaction of head coach Alvin Gentry showed just how significant it was for the franchise.
Despite having only a 6 percent chance of winning the NBA Draft Lottery, the Pelicans ended up with the No. 1 pick and the rights to draft former Duke superstar Zion Williamson. Gentry did absolutely nothing to hide his excitement, first standing up and yelling, “F— yeah!” in a room with representatives from other teams.
— NBA (@NBA) May 15, 2019
Gentry later crashed an interview with new Pelicans GM David Griffin and acted like the team had just won an NBA title.
How excited is Alvin Gentry about getting the #1 pick in the NBA Draft?
— Doug Mouton (@DMoutonWWL) May 15, 2019
While Gentry’s reaction was entertaining, it didn’t quite top the celebration that the Pelicans’ ticket department broke into when the pick was announced. Anthony Davis may still want New Orleans to trade him, but Williamson is considered a franchise-altering talent. You can understand why the Pelicans were so thrilled given the odds they had of landing at No. 1.
Alvin Gentry is nearing the end of what has almost certainly been his most trying season as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, and a brief exchange he had with reporters after Monday night’s game may have helped shed some light on that.
Following his team’s 115-112 road win over the Utah Jazz, Gentry began fumbling his words a bit while recapping some of the action. He then burst out laughing and asked the media to excuse him, as he had just “had a couple beers.”
Alvin Gentry post game: "Excuse me, I've had a couple of beers"
— Shamit Dua (@FearTheBrown) March 5, 2019
The reporter who told Gentry “you earned it” probably said it best. The Pelicans had just won their third consecutive game on the road, so Gentry has found a way to avoid a complete disaster in a season where the franchise’s best player publicly demanded a trade. And, somehow, that isn’t all the drama Gentry has been forced to deal with.
New Orleans showed signs of promise after sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs last year, but they look like they’re going to miss the postseason this year. Despite that, you could easily argue that Gentry has done enough to keep his job amid turmoil. That’s worth saying “cheers” to.
- Alvin Gentry
The New Orleans Pelicans organization continues to look worse and worse as the Anthony Davis saga rolls on.
Davis and agent Rich Paul left Thursday night’s game early, walking out after the star center suffered a shoulder injury in the first half. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, it was communicated to the front office that he was leaving to get an MRI, but coach Alvin Gentry only found out about the incident after the game via the media.
As @wojespn noted, Pels owner was livid at the scene last night. According to a source, it was communicated to Demps that AD and Rich Paul left to get an MRI on his shoulder, but that message was not relayed to head coach Alvin Gentry. He found out from a reporter’s Q
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 15, 2019
On Friday, the Pelicans fired general manager Dell Demps, partially because of the fallout from this incident. It’s been said that the organization is happy with how Gentry is handling the team amidst the chaos, and you can see why, since it seems like some people haven’t bothered to keep him in the loop. No wonder he had a pretty scathing assessment of everything going on.
The New Orleans Pelicans are dealing with a messy situation, and their head coach understands that all too well.
New Orleans beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 131-122 on Thursday night despite Anthony Davis getting injured just before halftime. Davis actually was seen leaving the arena before the game ended.
Head coach Alvin Gentry expressed his joy for the team after their win, acknowledging that the situation has been a “dumpster fire.”
Gentry: To tells you the truth, this whole thing has been a dumpster fire. It’s been hard for these guys to go what they’ve been through. I’m happy for all these guys.
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) February 15, 2019
He’s talking about Davis, who demanded a trade a week and a half before the deadline but did not get traded despite the widespread stories and rumors that ensued. On top of that, the Pelicans didn’t want to play Davis after he was medically cleared and almost got forced to by the league, according to reports.
It’s a tough situation, and it’s nice to see the Pelicans not quitting when they very understandably could.
The Anthony Davis trade situation is creating a lot of uncertainty in New Orleans.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry refused to commit to whether Davis would play another game with the team, though Gentry added that he “assume(s) that he will.”
Alvin Gentry didn’t know how to answer when asked if Anthony Davis will play another game for New Orleans. pic.twitter.com/5JwUBqbK6V
— Mike Singer (@msinger) January 30, 2019
Davis hasn’t played since Jan. 18 with a nagging finger injury. Gentry seems to imply that he might not be back before the Feb. 7 trade deadline, and if he’s not traded, there’s no guarantee the Pelicans would just stick him back in the team if they’re falling out of playoff contention and he would prove a distraction.
The Pelicans have made pretty clear that Davis will be traded on their terms, not his. Shutting him down would certainly preserve his trade value and they could float him on the trade market in the offseason while fully healthy.
It does not appear that Anthony Davis is going to sit out games in a bid to force the New Orleans Pelicans to trade him.
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said he has spoken to Davis on Monday after news of his trade demand went public, and he said his star center has assured him that he intends to play out the remainder of the season.
Alvin Gentry says there will be a statement later on issued by the team.
Says he spoke to AD this morning and says Davis told him he plans on playing out this season.
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) January 28, 2019
Gentry says AD came in this morning and got treatment and a workout in.
“He’s under contract. He’s a professional. … he’s made it clear he wants to play.”
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) January 28, 2019
This would seem to give the Pelicans more incentive to wait until the offseason to move Davis. The player does want out, but not urgently enough that he looks set to create a distraction. That news may frustrate one potential leading suitor that would’ve hoped to get this done quickly before potential rivals could position themselves for a deal.
The NBA is a “get wins or get out” enterprise. The business can be callous at times, spurning head coaches who have seemingly earned job security — a lesson Dwane Casey learned the hard way in May. It’s still hard to imagine Casey on the Pistons’ sideline.
It may seem ridiculous to already be speculating about which coaches could be fired this season, but the 2018-19 season is practically upon us, and before we know it, some team will be searching for a new leader. With the preseason already underway, here are 10 coaches on the hot seat.
10. Alvin Gentry, Pelicans
You could argue Anthony Davis’ impressive late-season surge saved Gentry’s job last season. The Pelicans won their first playoff series in the Davis era — an encouraging sign — but the Warriors quickly vanquished New Orleans’ momentum. This seems to be a pivotal moment for the franchise. The Pelicans didn’t have much spending money this summer, as the squad had already dished out hefty contracts to players like E’Twaun Moore, Alexis Ajinca, and Omer Asik. The team allowed DeMarcus Cousins to bolt and signed bargain-basement assets Jahlil Okafor and Elfrid Payton, in addition to Julius Randle. The Pelicans are reliant on Davis sustaining MVP-level production; if he and Jrue Holiday crash back to earth early this season, however, GM Dell Demps — left with little flexibility to add another impact player — may opt to make a coaching change.