NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Pelicans have hired Golden State Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry as head coach, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made.
Gentry is expected to remain with Golden State until the Warriors complete the NBA Finals against Cleveland, the person said.
Gentry has served as a head coach four times, compiling a career record of 335-370. His most successful tenure came in Phoenix, where he went 158-144 in five seasons. He took the Suns to the 2010 Western Conference finals, where they lost to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Now he inherits a squad featuring 22-year-old, two-time All-Star Anthony Davis that is coming off its first playoff berth in four seasons.
Gentry succeeds Monty Williams, who was fired despite making the playoffs this season as the Western Conference’s eighth and final seed. The Pelicans were swept by the Warriors in the opening round of the playoffs, but three of the four games were close down the stretch, and one went to overtime.
Gentry also had been a head coach with the Los Angeles Clippers (2000-03), Detroit (1997-2000) and Miami (1994-95). He served as Doc Rivers’ top assistant with the Clippers last season.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr hired Gentry as his associate head coach and offensive co-ordinator when he came to the Warriors last May. Gentry was previously the head coach for Phoenix, where Kerr had been the general manager.
Kerr’s top choices for his lead assistant last summer were Gentry and David Blatt, who ended up as head coach in Cleveland.
The spot Gentry leaves behind will be one of the most coveted assistant jobs in the league. Current assistant Luke Walton could be promoted, or Kerr could seek help from the outside from a more experienced coach.
Gentry was not at the Warriors’ practices Friday and Saturday, likely because he was meeting with Pelicans officials.
Asked about Gentry on Saturday, Kerr said his affable personality had been missed.
“It seems so quiet,” Kerr said.
AP Sports Writer Antonio Gonzalez in Oakland, California, contributed to this report.
Brett Martel, The Associated Press
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