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.