With Terry Porter remaining in Portland after having his jersey retired there last night, lead assistant Alvin Gentry manned the reins at practice today. Although Gentry claims that practice was the same as any other day, one player disagreed.
“With Alvin Gentry coaching, we must be playing the Clippers and I must be getting chased around by Michael Olakuwandu!” Shaquille O’Neal said after deliberately mispronouncing the name of former Clippers center Michael Olowokandi.
All jokes aside, Gentry said that his stint as the head honcho today was the same as if Porter was running the show.
“It was the same practice as it was on a day off,” Gentry said. “We ran a little bit more, we scrimmaged a little more, because we always do that when we have a day off. But it was like being a substitute teacher for a day.”
For Gentry, it was a little different from when he was the coach of the Clippers. When AZ Republic beat writer Paul Coro asked if they had to call the media to force them to attend their practices, Gentry responded, “Yeah… And give them lunch.”
When another reporter brought up the fact that there were a slew of head coaching positions now open around the league, the question was asked if he would ever be interested in holding one of those jobs again.
The former head of coach of Miami, Detroit and the Clippers said, “I’d like to be a head coach again because you think the next situation is going to be better for you and I think you always learn from the last situation you were in and you always feel like you can do a better job.”
“But I don’t want to be a head coach to be a head coach if it’s not a situation where you think you can be successful. I mean, I’ve got a great job right here.”
And he wasn’t done…
“I could stay here the rest of my career and be more than satisfied. I work for a great franchise and we’re a very good team.
“But I’ll tell you, lifestyle is important to me and very important to my family right now. So if it’s not a great situation or a situation that would be beneficial, then I’m happy right where I am.
“I work for a good guy. I think Terry is going to do a great job here, he’s already proven that.”
He said he’s learned a great deal since his last gig as a head coach, having served under talented coaches such as Larry Brown, Mike D’Antoni and Doug Collins.
“I think that most of the coaches in this league know basketball but I think the difference is in how you manage your players and how you get them to play for you,” Gentry said. “I also think style of play is important too and guys like playing the style we have here.”
With all of his experience in basketball, Gentry believes he’s learned a lot and has been able to pick up tidbits from a variety of people. One person’s knowledge that he’s been impressed with has been fellow assistant coach Dan Majerle.
“I think Dan Majerle is going to be a helluva head coach one day,” he said. “I think he knows the game and he really works hard at it.”
As jovial as Gentry seemed to be to the media, one got the feeling that he likes his spot in the second seat. When he was asked if the experience of talking to the reporters was truly that painful, Gentry responded jokingly, “No worse than a root canal.”