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Old 05-08-2009, 08:40 AM   #1
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Default Suns and Gentry close to a deal

Interviews could not tell the Suns any more about Alvin Gentry than they knew from having him in the organization for five years. The final 31 games of the 2008-09 Suns' season was essentially Gentry's tryout as an interim head coach. After internal uneasiness with previous coach Terry Porter, the players all put in votes for Gentry to remain coach, and the front office was in concert.

The only thing that remained were negotiations with Gentry, who met with Suns General Manager Steve Kerr over the past two days to bring the sides closer to lifting the interim tag from his head coach title.
"It's all going well," Kerr said. "We've had productive conversations the last couple days. Hopefully, we'll get something done. We've got the ball rolling. We just have to keep the discussion going and hopefully get something done soon."

Gentry is not looking elsewhere and the Suns are not pursuing other candidates. There had been time off, casual daily conversations and e-mail proposals with Gentry's agent in the three weeks since the season ended. The process also was delayed by Gentry going to North Carolina twice to be with his ailing father, and Gentry's agent, Warren LeGarie, attending the Euroleague final four. LeGarie was due in Phoenix on Thursday night.

A deal could be done by the weekend. The Suns and Gentry are talking about a two-year contract after Phoenix gave Porter a three-year contract a year ago. Porter was fired in February, when Gentry was elevated from lead assistant. The Suns still owe Porter about $4.5 million, leaving a smaller money pool for the new coach.

After the Suns went 18-13 under Gentry despite losing Amaré Stoudemire, Kerr said it was his hope to retain Gentry and that it would be the Suns' first order of off-season business. Gentry wanted the job and liked Phoenix and the organization enough to be the lone assistant who remained after Mike D'Antoni's departure a year ago.

Gentry's expected return to the Suns is an endorsement of how he reinstated the Suns' quick-tempo style (117.7 per game under him) but he also has been firm about the need to improve the team defensively.

This is Gentry's fourth turn as a head coach and the third time it at least began as an interim gig. He kept the job in Detroit after starting as an interim and led the Pistons to a 29-21 record in the next season, a lockout-shortened one. Gentry went 15-21 in his first head coaching shot in an interim role in Miami in 1995, stayed 2 1/2 seasons in Detroit (73-72) and was head coach of the Los Angles Clippers for 2 1/2 seasons (89-133). Other than Detroit and Phoenix, he's inherited weak teams to make up most of his 195-239 coaching record.

"The talks have been very productive," Kerr said. "I don't see anything getting in our way."
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Old 05-09-2009, 05:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Suns and Gentry close to a deal

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