OAKLAND -– When the Warriors hired Steve Kerr to be their head coach last May, he wasted little time recruiting veteran coach Alvin Gentry from the bench of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Gentry was influenced by a variety of factors in taking the job. There was his relationship with Kerr, which dates back to the late 1980s. There was the salary bump to a reported $800,000 that made Gentry, 60, the highest paid assistant in the NBA. The talent on the roster suited his offensive schemes. As garnish, there was his title: associate head coach.
But Gentry’s stay with Kerr and the Warriors could be short. After a franchise-record season and a deep run in the Western Conference playoffs, Gentry is receiving considerable interest from teams in the market for a head coach.
The New Orleans Pelicans, who last week fired Monty Williams, interviewed Gentry on Monday in San Francisco. There is strong interest on the part of both parties, according to a report by John Reid in the Times-Picayune of New Orleans.
Kerr addressed the topic Thursday afternoon, prior to Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against Houston, and clearly accepts the likelihood that Gentry, a four-time head coach, will be lured away.
“It’s all good stuff,” Kerr said of the interest in Gentry. “I want every member of our staff to embrace any opportunities that come their way, regardless of what they are, as long it doesn’t interfere with our game planning – which it hasn’t.”
A North Carolina native, Gentry reportedly is a potential target of the Chicago Bulls, who are expected to part ways with coach Tom Thibodeau.