Kings fire interim coach Gentry, miss playoffs for 16th year

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) β€” The Sacramento Kings fired interim coach Alvin Gentry on Monday, a day after the franchise missed the playoffs for an NBA-record 16th straight season.

Gentry, 67, was promoted from associate head coach to interim coach when the Kings fired Luke Walton in November after a 6-11 start. Sacramento finished the season at 30-52.

Gentry had most recently served as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans (2015-20). He has also made stops as a head coach in Miami, Detroit, the Clippers and Phoenix. He has a career record of 534-636.

“The entire Kings organization is grateful for the leadership of Alvin Gentry, who stepped up when he got the call midseason,” general manager Monte McNair said in a statement. “We appreciate his leadership on and off the court.”

Gentry’s firing comes after another turbulent season for the Kings. Sacramento traded budding star Tyrese Haliburton and former No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III in hopes of turning things around, but the season ended with the same familiar results.

The Kings finished 12th in the Western Conference and extended a postseason drought that began in 2006 after the last of eight straight playoff appearances.

What owner Vivek Ranadive hoped would be a turnaround campaign for his club instead turned into another frustrating year for a once-loyal fan base. The Kings were ranked 29th out of 30 league teams in attendance, playing many of their games at a half-full Golden 1 Center.

The numbers on the court were not much better.

Sacramento ranked 16th in scoring this season, but was 29th on defense despite getting a boost on that end of the floor from rookie Davion Mitchell. The Kings were also 27th in rebounding and 24th in 3-point shooting.

Point guard De’Aaron Fox was in and out of the lineup, missing 23 games with a variety of injuries. Two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis, who arrived when Haliburton and Buddy Hield were traded to the Pacers, caused a stir in Sacramento before missing the last nine games with a knee injury.

Sacramento Kings head coach Alvin Gentry discusses a call with referee Justin Van Duyne (64) during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in Sacramento, Calif., on Tuesday, April 5. of 2022. The Pelicans won 123-109.

Although general manager Monte McNair has brought some order to the front office, the Kings’ problems still range from a lack of talent, a lack of stability within the coaching staff and a general malaise that has gripped the franchise since Rick Adelman coached the team for its final playoff appearance in 2005-06.

TRAINING CAROUSEL

Walton was fired 17 games into his third season after the Kings stumbled off to a 6-11 start. Walton’s teams went 68-93, a .422 winning percentage that is second-highest in the team’s era in Sacramento, second only to Adelman, who had a .633 winning percentage. The Kings didn’t fare much better under Gentry, going 24-41 in the last 65 games. The team has had 11 coaches since Adelman and will look for No. 12 in the coming weeks.

NEW CORE

McNair made a bold move when he dealt for Sabonis. Haliburton was McNair’s first draft pick after being hired out of Sacramento and had shown great promise in his more than a year with the team. But the 6-foot-11 Sabonis gave the Kings a presence in the paint they haven’t had since trading DeMarcus Cousins ​​in 2017. Sabonis averaged 18.9 points, 12.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 15 games with the Kings. Kings before getting injured in late March. .

Fox’s production dipped slightly from the year before, but he still averaged 23.2 points and 5.6 assists before missing the final 11 games with a wrist injury. Mitchell, the ninth overall pick and the team’s best defensive player, filled the void with Fox out, dishing out seven or more assists in each of the Kings’ last 10 games.

IT WAS BAGLEY FINISHED

The Kings got a lot of flak for drafting Bagley before Luka Doncic in 2018, so it wasn’t a huge surprise when the team traded him. Whether due to injuries or coaching decisions, Bagley missed 135 games in his three-plus seasons in Sacramento before the trade to Detroit. In exchange, the Kings acquired Donte DiVincenzo.

WHATS NEXT

The Kings will be a lottery team again and will need help across the board. Before that, though, the franchise has to decide on a head coach. Historically, they’ve gone with veteran coaches, though McNair could change things up this season and go with a fresher look.

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