Alvin Gentry was asked a question during a Pelicans upset over the Jazz in March, but requested a clarification.
“Excuse me? I had a couple of beers. Sorry,” Gentry responded. And who could blame him?
The final two months of the Pelicans season looked particularly painful for the coach of a team that was torn apart by Anthony Davis trade rumors. Tuesday night, before Knicks fans wallowed, Gentry rejoiced.
The NBA released video of the actual lottery drawing that happens behind closed doors and before ESPN airs the winner, and it shows Gentry joyfully celebrating with a “f–k yeah” and a relieved strut as the Pelicans won the No. 1 pick and the ability to draft Duke star Zion Williamson.
Gentry was the one who, night after night, had to answer questions about Davis’ future and manage the forward’s playing time as he juggled an NBA mandate that Davis play against the risk of injury.
Asked if he’s witnessed anything like this season, Gentry said, “Not this toxic, no,” after the Pelicans’ regular-season finale, before mentioning the firing of Pelicans GM Dell Demps and the resignation of Lakers president Magic Johnson.
“Not that affected two teams. And two guys. One lost his job, and the other one resigned from his job. So no, in 31 years I hadn’t had anything that would equal this kind of fallout. No, I haven’t.”
The fallout is not over. Davis reportedly still prefers to be traded, but at the least now Gentry will have Williamson and whatever the Pelicans can net from a Davis deal to work with.
“Everyone knows we’re back in the game now,” Gentry told Yahoo Sports. “I’ll tell [Davis] we’re building something special here, and it won’t be one year or two years. This will be something sustainable.”
But for now this was a moment he earned after two months of torture.