Former Warriors’ Assistant Named Newest NBA Head Coach

Alvin Gentry

Getty Head coach Alvin Gentry of the New Orleans Pelicans stands on the side of the court during their game against the Golden State Warriors in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 1, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Golden State Warriors have one of the NBA’s gold standards at the helm in head coach Steve Kerr, which has helped the franchise develop into the league’s most recent modern dynasty. Now, it appears that one Western Conference opponent is trying to play a copycat game of sorts in hopes of replicating the Dubs’ success.

The Sacramento Kings, perennial basement dwellers in the same Pacific Division the Warriors dominated for years, have no chance to lure Kerr away from the Bay Area. So, instead, they have attempted to do the next best thing — pilfer his coaching tree.

On Sunday, November 21, the Kings hired former Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry on as interim head coach. Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA insider with ESPN, broke the news via Twitter.

“Sources: Alvin Gentry will become the Kings’ interim coach. Gentry is already under contract through 2022-23, gets a raise to take interim job and agreement on some benchmarks of success rest of this season with team to try and keep job longer,” Wojnarowski wrote Sunday.

Gentry is replacing Luke Walton at the helm in Sacramento. Walton was also a former Warriors assistant under Kerr before head coaching stints with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Kings. Walton was in his third season on the job before Sacramento’s front office dispatched him over the weekend.

Gentry Will Compete With Old Team to Make Kings Relevant


GettyGolden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr during the team’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers on October 19, 2021.

The task ahead of Gentry is far from simple or easy.

The Kings have not made a postseason appearance in 15 years, since they lost 4-2 in the first round of the 2006 NBA Playoffs to the San Antonio Spurs. Additionally, that was also the last time Sacramento posted a winning record. They are currently 6-11 and in a familiar position in the Pacific Division — dead last.

The Warriors, on the other hand, are front running in the division, the Western Conference and the entire NBA with a blistering record of 14-2. The Dubs have achieved all of that prior to the return of All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson and second-year big man James Wiseman, both of whom are likely to re-enter the starting lineup at some point this season and add even more depth to what is arguably the deepest roster in the entire league.

Gentry, Kerr Have Long History of Coaching Connections

Gentry was part of Golden State’s success for just one season, winning a championship ring in 2014-15 while holding the title of associate head coach.

The following year, Gentry departed the Bay Area to take a head coaching position with the New Orleans Pelicans. He spent five seasons there before being fired in favor of Stan Van Gundy, who lasted only one year in the Big Easy himself. As Wojnarowski noted, Gentry has been an assistant with the Kings the last two years under Walton, who he will now replace.

Gentry also has two other head coaching stints in his NBA career, the first with the Detroit Pistons and the second with the Phoenix Suns. He started on in Phoenix as an assistant in 2003-04, becoming the head coach in 2008-09. He was hired into that role by Kerr, then the Suns general manager. Kerr’s tenure in Phoenix lasted three years, between 2007-10.

Gentry and Kerr will reunite again this season, though this time as competitors. The Kings, while still struggling, have shown signs of life this season and will threaten for the NBA’s play-in tournament if things break right. They currently occupy the 12th position in the Western Conference, 1.5 games out of the 10th spot they would need to attain for a chance to play their way into the NBA Playoffs.

The Warriors next face the Kings on December 20 at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The Dubs won the first matchup between the franchises on October 24 by a score of 119-107.

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