As Suns tab Hunter as interim coach, Gentry seeks a hobby


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The Phoenix Suns either are fast-tracking their hiring process in replacement of former head coach Alvin Gentry or they’re punting.

As noted here at Hang Time Friday, Lindsey Hunter – the Suns’ player development coordinator and longtime NBA guard with the Detroit Pistons and four other teams – was named interim head coach Sunday morning, with the requisite news conference scheduled for noon Phoenix time.

What isn’t clear yet is whether Hunter got the job over three Suns assistant coaches because president of basketball ops Lon Babby and owner Robert Sarver are veering hard toward player development, with Hunter eventually firmed up and afforded significant time as part of the club’s rebuilding. Or whether Hunter truly is an interim, as in a placeholder for a more permanent hire to be made in the calm of the offseason.

There is a third possibility, of course: Hunter might be a brilliant head coach-in-waiting whose potential was too enticing for Babby and Sarver to pass up. That too could explain why more experienced coaches Elston Turner, Igor Kokoskov and Dan Majerle were leapfrogged in Sunday’s move. (Noel Gillespie, another Suns assistant, apparently was not a candidate for this opening.)

Turner was Gentry’s lead assistant and a veteran of 14 seasons working NBA sidelines. Kokoskov has been an assistant for 13 seasons, bringing Euro cred as the first full-time non-American to serve in the capacity with the L.A. Clippers and Detroit.

Majerle is a popular former Suns player working from the bench since 2008 who handles head coaching duties of Phoenix’s summer league entries.

Hunter worded for the Suns in scouting before being hired in August to the player-development post, a job he held briefly with Chicago. Drafted out of Jackson State in 1993, the No. 10 overall pick played 17 season in the NBA, mostly with Detroit. He averaged 8.5 points and 2.7 assists in 937 games, earning championship rings in 2002 with the Lakers and in 2004 in a return stint with the Pistons.

Meanwhile, Gentry – a whole two days into idleness – took to Twitter in an attempt to fill his time. (He was due for some anyway with a five-day gap between Suns games – they don’t play again until Wednesday in Sacramento – but now that will be Hunter’s minicamp.)

So fire away with suggestions on two fronts. One, as long as the Suns are using that “interim” tag, what should they do regarding a permanent head coach? And two, how might Gentry spend his free time beside blobbing on the coach to watch two football games.

8 Comments

  1. Max says:

    Alvin Gentry is liked by Players! That is much more than lot of BB Coaches can say. I say ESPN/sports should give Gentry a big look. Much more likeable and better voice and not predjuiced like J.Rose. Gentry is a very likeable guy and Players like to play for him, but when a team has so many losses? Well the Coach has to pay the price. Although, Owner, sells off any up comming prize Players, Like Cuban in Texas!

  2. Chester says:

    alvin look at the positives, at least u wont have to live in phoenix anymore

  3. krookmil says:

    Celtics Back-Up Coach Offense + Defense

  4. gremer says:

    Alvin won’t be bored for too long. He’s too good of a head coach and he’s proven that with the Suns. He’ll get a call very soon. The Suns really made a bad decision with this one.

  5. Hm says:

    Maybe Alvin Gentry can spend his time (anonymously) trolling Suns articles. ;-)

  6. Jacques Durceille says:

    This nba season is bad for head coaches. Sheesh. How much is it the responsibility of a coach if there is really no talent. Im sure phil jackson could not coach the bobcats to 30 wins. Owners need quality athletes, you can’t turn cement to gold, there is no alchemy magic for that.

    Man. I hope he goes to milwaukee when skiles leaves or he gets a gig somewhere in the east. He will land somewhere.

    • BJ says:

      its bad for the players and the coaches today. I don’t recall back in the days of the NBA where coaches got fired like this for the teams not winning. what happened to investing in the players and allowing the team to mesh, develop and find their chemistry? it seems like these franchises want instant gratification in todays game. they seem to put a bunch of players and a coach together and expect them to go all the way to a championship the same year.

      its a sad time in the world of sports all around though, this is happening in every sport it seems.

  7. Mr T says:

    Go to the Bobcats they need a decent coach