He’s hired ... so what now?
Now that he’s gotten the job, here’s what new Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry needs to do:
1. Hire a staff
Monty Williams had autonomy in this area, and while certainly he will be choosing this group, Dell Demps will be signing off, especially where money is concerned. Gentry’s long career has left him connected to just about everyone in the league, and no doubt he has a list of the people he wants. Clippers assistant Armando Hill, a defensive specialist, looks attractive to run that end. Of the old Pels staff, Kevin Hanson, who is credited with developing Anthony Davis’ midrange shooting abilities, is a likely keeper.
2. Court Anthony Davis
If Gentry’s first call after taking the job wasn’t to his wife, Suzanne, it should have been to Pels’ star player, who in exactly one month will be presented a max contract offer that would be worth an estimated $144 million and keep him with the team through the end of the decade. There are mixed views on whether AD will take the offer, work for something shorter, or wait to see what the team looks like after next season. Gentry’s vision of taking Davis’ offensive talents to even higher levels can’t hurt.
3. Study free agency
Demps is making the calls here but certainly Gentry will be giving his two cents worth. The biggest question is deciding on whether center Omer Asik fits Gentry’s style of play and is worth the $8 million it would take to lure him back. Eric Gordon’s enthusiastic tweet to Gentry’s hiring could be a tip he’s going to opt in for his final year. Gentry’s up-tempo style is based on depth, so look for value-priced young veterans that fit that mold to be added for backup roles.
4. Draft time
Yes, there is one, on June 25, and the Pels actually have a choice — No. 56, acquired from Memphis in the Austin Rivers trade. Demps has indicated the team isn’t looking for anyone who can make the roster, preferring to use the pick in a trade (big surprise there) or take an international player who can be stashed in a European league. There’s absolutely no way the team is going to trade into the first round, so once the finals are over, the Gentrys can probably use their time before July 1 doing some house hunting.
5. Don’t quit your day job — yet
Golden State’s in the NBA Finals in large part because of Gentry’s offensive input for Warriors coach Steve Kerr. There’s no better endorsement for Demps’ call on Gentry that watching his current team execute on basketball’s biggest stage. And while the NBA isn’t college, there’s an element of recruiting involved for potential free agents when they see the style of play they can expect not to mention playing for someone who’s coaching on the championship level.