Friday, January 28 2022
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New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin had a confrontation with Alvin Gentry, their former coach, after a recent game against the Sacramento Kingsper Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer

Griffin fired Gentry at the end of the 2019-20 season, following the Pelicans’ disappointing showing in the NBA bubble, and replaced him with Stan Van Gundy in October of 2020. Eight months later, Van Gundy was gone, with first-year coach Willie Green in his place, a fact that Gentry, reportedly noted during this exchange on Oct. 29. 

According to Bleacher Report, Griffin greeted Gentry, now Luke Walton’s lead assistant in Sacramento, and things went south quickly. Gentry apparently hadn’t been pleased to hear that, in his last season with the Pelicans, Griffin had remarked, “I give Alvin all the answers to the test, and he still fails,” as reported by NOLA.com’s Christian Clark in September.  

From Bleacher Report

After the Kings defeated the Pelicans 113-109 on Oct. 29, Griffin approached Gentry in the bowels of Smoothie King Center to offer a warm hello to his former head coach, yet Gentry brushed off his initial efforts as inauthentic. 

From there, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the incident, Griffin denied the findings of the NOLA.com article, particularly his “answers to the test” line, and the notion that he played piano for Williamson during the team’s bubble stay in Disney World. 

Gentry responded with his own choice words, noting how his eventual replacement, Stan Van Gundy, who was also fired after one season in New Orleans, finished just one game better (31-41) than the Pelicans did under Gentry (30-42) the year he was let go. “You must not have given Stan the answers to the test, either,” Gentry shouted at Griffin, according to multiple sources, and the two men had to be physically separated.

(Aside: If you somehow missed it, NOLA.com reported that, in an effort to connect with Zion Williamson during his rookie season, Griffin played the piano for him. At Media Day, Williamson laughed at a question about this and denied that it happened. “He can’t play the piano, and, nah, he didn’t play the piano,” Williamson said. “I think he only had like a little keyboard with him and he brought it to the bubble to try to learn how to play, maybe. But outside of that, no, he didn’t play no piano for me. Come on now, guys, I’m not letting a grown man come to my hotel room and play a piano for me.”)

The Pelicans are 1-11, with the worst net rating (-11.0) in the NBA, mostly because Williamson is still recovering from foot surgery. Brandon Ingram, their second-biggest building block, started the season strong, but has missed their last six games with a knee contusion. Struggles are expected in this scenario, but it’s not as if they are losing only because they lack firepower. No team has allowed more than the 112.4 points per 100 possessions they have this season, and New Orleans has been fouling like crazy. In this context, there has been no shortage of speculation about Griffin’s job security. 

The reported argument between Griffin and Gentry has only added fuel to that fire, according to Bleacher Report, which also reported that Williamson might not make his season debut until as late as January. 

In more positive Pelicans news, third-year guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 22 of his season-high 33 points in the fourth quarter on Wednesday, to go with 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. This was not enough, however, to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder

Source: CBSSports.com

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