Phoenix Suns: Struggling Suns, last in West, fire Gentry

2013-01-19T00:00:00Z Phoenix Suns: Struggling Suns, last in West, fire GentryPaul Coro The Arizona Republic Arizona Daily Star
January 19, 2013 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - The Suns have parted ways with coach Alvin Gentry after the team posted its worst record for the first half of a season in 25 years.

An interim coach was not immediately known, although lead assistant coach Elston Turner would be next in line and has been a finalist for other league head coaching jobs.

The Suns lost at home Thursday night to Milwaukee for the first time in 26 years to fall to 13-28, the franchise's worst midpoint record since the 1987-88 team went 13-28 coming out of a drug scandal.

Gentry, Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver and President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby had a late-night meeting but Gentry was not let go at that time. A decision was made Friday morning.

"After nine years with the Suns, the organization and I came to a mutual agreement to go in different directions," Gentry said in a statement. "I have the utmost respect for Robert and what he's done with the organization. It's unfortunate that I was unable to accomplish what I set out to do here."

Sarver told USA Today on Dec. 11 that Gentry would be the Suns coach for the entire season.

The Suns have lost 13 of their past 15 games and 20 of their past 26 games, falling to last in the Western Conference.

The Suns have struggled all season defensively, ranking second to last in the league for defensive field-goal percentage.

Phoenix's offense worsened as the season wore on and the lack of a scorer who can create his own shot or be counted on in crunch time became more apparent. The Suns shot less than 40 percent in four of the past seven games and have not reached 100 points for 10 consecutive games.

Gentry, 58, was in the final contract year of his contract and the Suns will owe him $1.2 million for the remainder of it.

Gentry was 158-144 with Phoenix in his fourth stint as a head coach after previous turns with Detroit, Miami and the L.A. Clippers.

"Alvin Gentry is a good coach and a good person," Babby said. "He was the perfect coach for our previous group. But with the current group, all of us, including Alvin himself, realized that it just wasn't working, the pieces just weren't fitting."

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