Pelicans hand first two years of Zion Williamson's development to Alvin Gentry

Jack BaerYahoo Sports Contributor

The New Orleans Pelicans will be embarking on a new era next season with Zion Williamson and a load of young talent from the Anthony Davis trade. Apparently, the team thinks it already has the man for the job of coaching that talent.

The Pelicans exercised their team option for head coach Alvin Gentry for the 2020-21 season on Monday, ESPN’s Malika Andrews reports.

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Gentry has been the head coach in New Orleans since 2015, holding a 145-183 record with the team. This is the 64-year-old’s fourth head coaching job, fifth if you count an interim stint with the Miami Heat back in 1995.

Gentry holds a 480-553 career record, has made the playoffs just three times in 16 seasons and has never lasted more than five years with a team, but he appears to have an ally in new Pelicans vice president David Griffin.

Guaranteeing another year in Gentry’s contract would indicate that the coach has indeed survived the regime change from past general manager Dell Demps, and will be the coach of the first two years of the Zion Williamson era barring disaster.

Gentry will be tasked with the development of presumptive top overall draft pick in Williamson, as well as young talents like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and whomever the Pelicans end up getting from the No. 4 pick this year.

At the very least, seeing Williamson and Ball exchanging passes in transition with Gentry’s high-speed system — the Pelicans ranked second in the league in pace last season — should make for some entertaining basketball.

Alvin Gentry will be running a much younger team next season. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Alvin Gentry will be running a much younger team next season. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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