They called it a "mutual decision", and in this case it actually might have been. The Phoenix Suns and their head coach Alvin Gentry agreed to part ways on Friday, which is perfectly understandable from both sides.
In 2010, Gentry led the Suns to the NBA's Western Conference finals. But Amar'e Stoudemire left for New York and then the two-time league MVP Steve Nash for Los Angeles. Gentry entered this season with nine new players, and then Channing Frye was lost with an enlarged heart.
He was set up to fail. Left without a go-to guy, the Suns were 13-28 – the worst record in the conference – when it came to an end on Friday.
"The organisation needed a jolt," said Lance Blanks, the Suns general manager. Yet the Suns are in such organisational disarray, they had no one ready to name as interim coach. On Sunday they announced ex-NBA player Lindsey Hunter would fill in. Hunter has no previous coaching experience.
The respected Gentry, previously the head coach with the LA Clippers, Miami and Detroit, had served the Suns fine since he inherited most of former coach Mike D'Antonio's squad.
But for this revamped, talent-thin edition, it was never going to work. Particularly for a coach in the final year of his contract.
"I think the writing's been on the wall," said Nash, now a Laker. "They wouldn't extend his contract. They just gave him the year to kind of play it out. It looked like they wanted their own guy in there." Gentry, and the Suns, may be better off for it.
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