Firing a coach midway through the season is normally done to get the attention of a struggling team. A coach’s dismissal puts everyone on notice that they might be next. That mark could be missed in the case of the Phoenix Suns. Today, they relieved Alvin Gentry of his duties as head coach and he may actually be relieved to be moving on.
Gentry was asked to lead a flawed team into battle when he took over a few years ago. The Suns were past their prime and in desperate need of a rebuild, especially after Amare Stoudemire bolted for the New York Knicks. Desperate to hang on, the Suns signed players like Josh Childress and Hakeem Warrick to unnecessary deals. This summer they lost Steve Nash and replaced him by signing back Goran Dragic–you know, the guy they had traded away after his breakout playoff performance.
Incompetence has reigned supreme in the Suns organization for a while now. Bad signing after bad signing. Holding on to Nash instead of trading him once the window for a championship had closed for the team as it was built. Let us not forget the failed experiment of Terry Porter as coach. Gentry entered this year as a coach on the last year of his deal. This team, as currently built, only had a slim chance of sneaking into the playoffs if everything went right for them, which it hasn’t.
Gentry deserved better than this. At this point, why not let him coach the rest of the season knowing the team was going to have to begin anew this off season anyway? There’s no need to make him the scapegoat for the failures of the front office. Yes, coaches are normally the first to go when the ship is sinking but this was to no major fault of Gentry.
Gone are Nash and Stoudemire, replaced with the likes of two underachievers in Wesley Johnson and Michael Beasley. The Suns should have either let Gentry go last off season or waiting until this off season to make the change. Nobody expected great things from this team to begin with, so firing Gentry now proves only one point: the front office has no idea what it is doing.