Ex-Pelicans Coach Treats New Orleans Media to Dinner a Week After Being Fired

Jesse Pantuosco
August 22, 2020 - 4:43 pm

Zion Williamson’s development with the Pelicans has been fascinating to watch. Unfortunately, Alvin Gentry won’t get to see New Orleans’ grand Zion experiment to completion. That’s because Gentry was let go as the Pelicans’ head coach last week, ending his five-year stay in the Big Easy.

Typically, that would not be a cause for celebration, but despite the bad hand he was dealt in New Orleans, the resilient Gentry has chosen to keep his head held high. Gentry, who qualified for the playoffs just once during his Pelicans tenure, wasn’t leaving town without thanking the media who covered him for so many years, treating a group of area journalists including local sports anchor Fletcher Mackel to dinner on Friday night.

It would have been easy for Gentry to snub the media, many of whom openly campaigned for his firing, while quietly blaming them for his current predicament. But this isn’t his first rodeo—the 65-year-old has been shown the door by more NBA teams (last week brought his career pink-slip tally to four) than he would care to admit. But somewhere along the way, Gentry must have learned that life is too short to hold grudges.

The now ex-Pelicans coach has updated his Twitter profile to reflect his new (and hopefully temporary) unemployment, insisting he is available and open to coaching in “any capacity.” The Pelicans have yet to begin their search for Gentry’s replacement, though they should have plenty of options to choose from including Brett Brown (who is likely heading into his final stretch as Sixers head coach), Nets interim coach Jacque Vaughn, longtime Doc Rivers collaborator Sam Cassell, Tyronn Lue (familiar with GM David Griffin from their time together in Cleveland) and Becky Hammon, who could be poised to become the first female head coach in NBA history. Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, who interviewed for the Knicks’ opening last month (since filled by Tom Thibodeau), could also be of interest to New Orleans. Whoever the Pelicans choose will be tasked with nurturing the team’s promising young core of Williamson, first-time All-Star Brandon Ingram and emerging point guard Lonzo Ball.

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