Alvin Gentry has emerged as a possible candidate for the New Orleans Pelicans’ head coaching vacancy.
ESPN reported Monday that the Pelicans have been granted permission to interview Gentry, currently associate head coach with Golden State.
Gentry has a brief history with New Orleans, serving as an assistant under Tim Floyd during his one year as then-Hornets coach, 2003-04.
The Warriors, who begin the Western Conference finals Tuesday when they host Houston in Game 1, declined to comment on the report.
Pelicans team President Mickey Loomis and General Manager Dell Demps met with Gentry on Monday night in San Francisco, Yahoo Sports reported. The outlet also reported that New Orleans has made calls on former Rockets and New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy and former Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks. Van Gundy is currently an analyst for ABC.
Those names are the latest to be mentioned as possibilities for the job as the Pelicans look to replace Monty Williams, who was fired last week after six seasons.
Gentry hasn’t commented about the report but did have comments about his future last week in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News.
“I like where I am,” he told the newspaper. “I think it’s really nice to be where I am. Obviously I’d like to be a head coach again; but it would have to be a special situation for me to leave here.”
A team centered around Pelicans all-star forward Anthony Davis would seem to be a special situation for Gentry or any coach, but time will tell.
“At this stage, the quality of life means a lot to me, and the living situation,” Gentry told the Mercury News.
“Sure, I would like to be a head coach, but it would have to be in the right situation. I’m happy here; I’m flattered that my name has been out there a little bit.”
Last week, ESPN reported that there is mutual interest between Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and the Pelicans.
Thibodeau is still coaching the Bulls, but speculation is that he and the team likely will part ways any day now. Thibodeau is still under contract for the next two years for right at $9 million.
The Pelicans could have some competition there. A report from the Racine (Wisconsin) Journal Times said the Orlando Magic are particularly interested in Thibodeau and would be willing to pay him between $7 million and $9 million per year to get him on board.
Demps, who is in charge of the coaching search, could not be reached for comment. During last week’s news conference after Williams was fired, Demps didn’t give any specifics on what qualifications he would be seeking in the next coach.
“Obviously, I think we are going to find a coach that’s good for us,” he said. “Hopefully, we can find someone that can take us to the next level.’’
Gentry last served as a head coach in the 2012-13 season, when he was with Phoenix. He coached five seasons, compiling a 158-144 record before being fired in January 2013.
The 60-year-old also has been a head coach with the Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Clippers. He has a career 335-370 record as a head coach.
His best season came in 2010, when he guided Phoenix to the Western Conference finals, where they lost in six games to the Los Angeles Lakers.
His role as associate head coach of the Warriors this season has made him a hot commodity. His name has been associated with several of the other current NBA openings; SI.com reported that the Denver Nuggets also are interested.
Gentry has been a key part of Golden State’s success under first-year coach Steve Kerr. Kerr, who had never been a head coach before this season, leaned heavily on Gentry for pointers. Gentry is credited for much of the success of the Golden State offense, which averaged a league-best 110 points per game.