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Alvin Gentry out as Suns head coach

Jan 18, 2013, 1:28 PM EDT

Denver Nuggets v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

PHOENIX — The Suns and head coach Alvin Gentry have parted ways effective immediately, according to multiple reports. The official release from the team says that the two parties have mutually agreed to the decision, and given the talk around the team over the last week or so, that makes perfect sense.

There have been discussions about changing the player rotations to focus more on player development than on wins and losses. Gentry is a players’ coach, and a veteran of the game whose competitive fire wouldn’t be best suited in that situation, so the decision to go in another direction from a leadership standpoint is an understandable one.

Gentry talked about the situation a little bit on Thursday, and said that any choice made to deviate from competing solely to win games would be determined by the organization as a whole.

“Well yeah, it will be,” he said, when asked if it would be an organizational decision to move in more of a player development direction. “It’s not going to be something that I just decide. It will be something that’s going to be discussed with [president of basketball operations Lon Babby] and [team GM Lance Blanks] and [team owner Robert Sarver]. It’s not something that I’m just going to decide on my own to do because there will be other things that would have to be discussed also.

“We’ve talked about it,” he said. “We haven’t met formally about it, but we’ve talked about it some. It’s something that I’m sure at some stage we’d look at.”

Gentry also said that the move in that direction could be coming soon, especially considering the team’s schedule that doesn’t have them playing another game for six days.

“There’s a possibility we could sit down and talk, but I think there’s some other things that would have to be discussed along those lines too,” he said.

What Gentry kept referring to was clearly the fact that if Suns management determined that player development was to be more valued than wins and losses, his contract situation would need to be addressed first.

Gentry was in the final year of his deal, so obviously he would have liked to have some job security firmly in place before the losses continued to pile up with, for example, rookie point guard Kendall Marshall getting extended minutes when there are more talented options on the roster.

Gentry was asked if his future would need to be addressed, and he responded with “no comment.”

The Suns suffered another frustrating loss on Thursday, blowing an eight-point fourth quarter lead to a Bucks team that hadn’t won in Phoenix in over 25 years. The Suns are 13-28 on the season, dead last in the Western Conference standings.

A press conference is scheduled for this afternoon, and an interim head coach is expected to be named in the next 24-48 hours. Current Suns assistant coaches Elston Turner and Dan Majerle are potential candidates, as is player development coach Lindsey Hunter.

  1. smoochytherhino - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    Give it to Thunder Dan. What the hell else is there to talk about with that team?

  2. siege102 - Jan 18, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    The Bucks have now gotten 3 coaches fired. Avery Johnson was let go the day after losing the Bucks, their own coach Skiles, and now Gentry goes the day after losing to the Bucks.

    *Takes tongue out of cheek*

    • badintent - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:21 PM

      Take those 3 coaches, add Mike Brown and a nice bottle of Chivas Black and ya got a party, or a ESPN commentator table.

  3. zacmonte - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Exactly what the Suns needed. The pieces they have right now aren’t going to get them anywhere. Blow it up, trade Gortat and get what value you can, and then tank a year or two. Even if Phoenix is a great area, it isn’t going to bring any big name free agents so you need to tear this team apart and build through the draft. Getting a late lottery pick every year like they have been recently isn’t going to cut it either. Though I am not a Suns fan, I do live in the Phoenix area and would love to see this team make a push at Derrick Williams after what he did at U of A, and he is definitely appearing to not be a big part of Minnesota’s plans anyway. Regardless, this team needs a full rebuild. A new system, a new coach, and a completely revamped personnel. Blow it up. You gotta sell wins or hope in the NBA, you’re not winning, so get us a high draft pick and a prospect like Muhammed, McLemore, or Noel with a top pick and take a risk with a high upside guy like Isiah Austin, Archie Goodwin, Rudy Gobert, etc with the Lakers pick. That probably won’t happen, though. The Suns are terrible in the draft. I am still reeling over the pick of Markieff Morris over guys like Leonard, Shump, and MarShon Brooks in 2011 then following that up with drafting Kendall Marshall after bringing Dragic back in to Phoenix.

    • diehardcard - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      Live in Phoenix, but aren’t a Suns fan. You are what is wrong with Phoenix sports. Well, you, the Bidwell family, and Robert Sarver.

    • erocknrolla - Jan 18, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      The roster was not Gentry’s fault though. This was a horrible roster. Not a single coach in the league could have gotten production from what he had to work with.

      Throughout the entire 00’s the suns traded or sold a majority of their draft pick. The ones they did not sell ended up becoming nothing. Not a single one is on the team (except gortat but technically we traded him away too).

    • adoombray - Jan 18, 2013 at 8:04 PM

      No, this is not OK. What pisses me off about this is you said you aren’t even a Suns fan. I am a Suns fan, and I live in Tempe, a light rail ride away from the stadium. I go to 20-30 games a year. Tanking is not acceptable and i’m really tired of people saying that it is. At least in the NFL the draft order is set. in the NBA there is a lottery, specifically to stop tanking. It is not acceptable for the team and team ownership to stick a middle finger in the face of paying customers like me who drop 100+ bucks to go to the game for good seats and cold beer and a full stomach. Before the season, everyone criticized the team for signing Beasley. Obviously it didn’t work out. But I appreciated the fact that ownership was at least trying. They could have listened to everyone else who doesn’t bleed orange and given up on the season but they gave me a reason to go. I appreciated that.

      I would rather have a semi competetive team year in and year out than be Charlotte and suck for 7 years so they can “build assets”.

  4. rajbais - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    He’s not as bad as his 2013 record indicates.

    After seeing him get fired for barely being above .500 in Detroit in 2000 and then doubling the Clippers win totals from 2000 to 2001 I always liked him as a head coach.

    His career in Phoenix went south after Stoudemire left. He reached the Conference Finals after D’Antoni left as a semi-final coach and Terry Porter did nothing.

    He was affected by circumstances, but ultimately lost games. A more skilled but underperforming team like the Nets or Lakers could be better with him.

  5. delusionalcardsfan - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Why can’t the Suns part ways with Babby and Sarver?

  6. reasonablemindsays - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Gentry is one of the top coaches in this league. I suspect he wont be out of work for long.

  7. phx1311 - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    I loved coach Gentry. Always honest and to the point with the team,fans, and media. I knew it would happen eventually but I’m still sad and shocked. Damn…….Go Suns

  8. diehardcard - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    I understand that Sarver probably thought he had to do this. The team is bad and someone has to pay. Someone has to be the fall guy. Thing is, no one ever blamed Gentry. We all know that the current state of the Suns is all Sarver’s fault. Firing Gentry doesn’t change that and doesn’t fool anyone. In fact, for me it does the opposite. It confirms what an absolute moron Sarver is, and makes me sports hate him even more.

  9. rj2323 - Jan 18, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    He sucked at coaching

  10. openseason51 - Jan 18, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Another one bites dust!

  11. 00maltliquor - Jan 18, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Gentry’s a good coach. Hope he makes it somewhere soon.

  12. bucinnj - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    The picture is PERFECT.

    Now close you’re eyes and imagine Coach Gentry saying “I’m getting too old for this s**t,” in his best Roger Murtaugh voice.

  13. pdavies576 - Jan 19, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    Gentry should have gone last year.

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