According to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears the Utah Jazz are going to be interviewing Alvin Gentry for the team's vacant head coaching position. Spears talked with a league source, but did not indicate if that source was from within the team or not.Spears writes:
The Cleveland Cavaliers have also contacted the Clippers about Gentry for their head-coaching vacancy, but an interview has not been set up, a source said. Gentry has ties to new Cavaliers general manager David Griffin when both worked for the Phoenix Suns.
Gentry is also receiving strong interest from the Golden State Warriors to be the associate head coach under new coach Steve Kerr. Gentry worked under Kerr when both were in Phoenix.
The Sacramento Kings have also contacted Gentry about their assistant coach position, a source said. Kings head coach Michael Malone never filled the position vacated by his father Brendan a week before last season.
It appears as though Gentry is a much sought after coach right now, in the wake of the Stan Van Gundy and Steve Kerr appointments. Utah's General Manager, Dennis Lindsey, is attending to predraft workouts right now, but it's pretty obvious that getting a head coach is super important, and the Jazz brass do not want to rush into it and make a mistake. Is Gentry going to be "the one" for the Jazz?
Well he's not even "the first one" that the Jazz have interviewed for the spot. But he does have one thing that puts him ahead of a lot of other candidates. Gentry is from the San Antonio Spurs family. He got his start as an assistant coach in the NCAAs under Larry Brown. He then traveled with Brown to the NBA to be an assistant with the Spurs. With the Spurs he had worked under Brown, but alongside Gregg Popovich, R.C. Buford, and others. Dennis Lindsey's Spurs ties are well documented here, and other places -- so I won't repeat them. The Jazz seem to be head-hunting for former Spurs employees (current assistant coach Brad Jones being yet another one). So in this regard, Gentry should not be a surprise. (Maybe Kerr's name was thrown around too?)
But what about Gentry as a coach? At the NBA level he has coached for parts of 12 seasons, and really, in over a decade he has coached his various teams to nearly a .500 record. That's commendable when you recognize that it wasn't just 3.5 years, it was 12. And it was for over 700 regular season games. Gentry is 335 up and 370 down (.475 winning%). As the coach of the Miami Heat things didn't look so good, He did his best with the Detroit Pistons (but got bounced in the first round of the playoffs), gave it his all with the Los Angeles Clippers, but is best known for his years with the Phoenix Suns.
One thing he has done is been a solid 'bridge' for franchises. He was the bridge in Miami between Kevin Loughery and Pat Riley. In Detroit he was the bridge between Doug Collins and Rick Carlisle. With the Clippers he was the bridge between Chris Ford and Mike Dunleavy. And with the Suns he was the bridge between Terry Porter and Jeff Hornacek.
This really has nothing to do with THIS story, but SB Nation's Mark Sandritter writes:
"The Jazz are in search of a candidate to replace Tyrone Corbin after he was fired following four seasons in Utah . . . former Jazz star John Stockton and current Blazers guard Earl Watson have either been rumored as a potential candidate or shown interest in the vacancy."
Not entirely accurate, but fun to read.
Anyway, Coach Gentry is currently an assistant coach with the Clippers, and with DL in Los Angeles right now it is plausible that they could meet sometime this week. Having watched a lot of Gentry teams over the year's I'm not crazy about him. But he's qualified for the job and seems to exist as a transition guy for franchises. The Jazz are currently in transition right now. Plus, he's from the Spurs coaching tree. It makes sense. It makes too much sense when you recognize that the Jazz aren't that attractive to free agent head coaches right now because there's little chance for a coach to hitch their wagon to a Andrew Wiggins level player right now (thanks Lotto!).
A guy like Gentry could be our guy. Or he could just be the first in a long line of interviews. Or both.