Despite all that’s gone wrong thus far this season — all of the injuries and all of the losses — the Pelicans entered Monday’s Martin Luther King Day matchup just 4 ½ games back of a playoff spot in the suddenly shallow Western Conference, a fact not lost on New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry and his players.
“This is a really, really crucial time for us,” Gentry said pregame. “We got off to such a bad start because of injuries and things like that. We have a chance because no one ran away and left. Obviously Golden State, San Antonio and teams like the Clippers and Oklahoma City [are] in the top echelon in the West. Everybody else is just kind of in that group where, if you can win five or six games in a row, you can get right back in the playoff race.
Source: Justin Verrier of ESPN
Sources: Pelicans Pick Up 2018-19 Option on Alvin Gentry
The New Orleans Pelicans have informed coach Alvin Gentry that the franchise is picking up his $4 million option for the 2018-19 season, league sources told ESPN.
General manager Dell Demps told Gentry of the Pelicans’ decision prior to the opening-round sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers, league sources said.
The Pelicans’ assistant coaching staff, including associate head coach Darren Erman, Chris Finch and Fred Vinson, also had their contract options picked up, league sources said. Gentry signed an original four-year deal with a team option in 2015.
New Orleans will play the winner of the Golden State-San Antonio series in the Western Conference semifinals. The Warriors lead 3-1.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN
Sources: Suns Talking to Kidd, Del Negro about Head Coach Job
The Suns will soon move on to the second phase of their coaching search.
Phoenix reportedly has talked to 10 candidates, the latest names revealed Monday when a league source told azcentral sports Phoenix had spoken to former Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd as well as former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro.
Other candidates who reportedly have had interviews, either in person or by phone, include interim coach Jay Triano, former Memphis coach David Fizdale, Utah assistant Igor Kokoskov, former Charlotte coach Steve Clifford, former Orlando and Indiana coach Frank Vogel, former Houston coach Kevin McHale, former Cleveland coach David Blatt and San Antonio assistant James Borrego.
Those interviews could begin late this week or early next week.
Sources: Budenholzer Interested in Knicks Head Coach Job
Mike Budenholzer is genuinely interested in the Knicks’ job, according to an NBA source who has spoken to the Hawks coach.
“New York’s his top choice,’’ the NBA source said. “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes. He wants to live in New York.’’
Moreover, Budenholzer appears so disillusioned with the current Hawks’ philosophy, it’s difficult to imagine him returning. Atlanta is adopting the blueprint set by the “Trust The Process’’ Sixers. Budenholzer was the top decision-maker on personnel until last summer, when Travis Schlenk was named general manager. Now the 48-year-old, the 2015 Coach of the Year, has no power regarding personnel.
The Hawks may look at finances, seeking a way out of the final two years and $13 million of Budenholzer’s contract.
Source: Marc Berman of the New York Post