Pelicans fire Alvin Gentry after 5 seasons as team’s coach

Pelicans
FILE - In this March 20, 2020 file photo, New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry watches during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in New Orleans. The Pelicans have fired Gentry, Saturday, Aug. 15, after the club missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza, File)

FILE – In this March 20, 2020 file photo, New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry watches during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in New Orleans. The Pelicans have fired Gentry, Saturday, Aug. 15, after the club missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans fired coach Alvin Gentry on Saturday after the club missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons.

The Pelicans went 30-42 this season, finishing with just two victories in their final eight games despite the presence of top overall draft choice Zion Williamson and first-time All-Star Brandon Ingram in the lineup.

Gentry was hired by former Pelicans general manager Dell Demps after the club fired Monte Williams following the 2014-15 season, when Anthony Davis was the face of the franchise.

The Pelicans made the playoffs in Gentry’s third season, but were derailed last season by a combination of injuries and Davis’ trade demand, which precipitated Demps’ firing.

Gentry was retained even after Demps was replaced by current basketball operations chief David Griffin and the coach’s contract was extended through the end of next season.

But the Pelicans faltered once again this season, starting 6-22 and laboring through a franchise record 13-game losing streak while top overall draft choice Zion Williamson missed the first 44 games of the season with a knee injury.

The Pelicans rallied back into contention for a playoff berth and were fully healthy when the season resumed in central Florida late last month after a hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Odds makers favored the Pelicans to make the playoffs, but they were eliminated after dropping four of six after resuming their season.

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