The Suns did not immediately name a replacement – and really don’t have to. They don’t play again until Wednesday at Sacramento, giving the new coach several days to acclimate himself.
A release from the Suns said an interim will be named in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Gentry joins Mike Brown of the Lakers, Avery Johnson of the Nets and Scott Skiles of the Bucks as those who have not survived the season. Brown and Johnson were fired while Skiles decided to tap out.
Gentry replaced Terry Porter on an interim basis during the 2008-09 season and was named permanent coach in May 2009. He was 158-144 with Phoenix, guiding the Suns to one playoff appearance – a trip to the 2010 Western Conference finals.
Over the last two-plus years, the team has been stripped of its star power in cost-cutting moves by owner Robert Sarver. In 2010, the Suns decided to not re-sign All-Star forward Amar’e Stoudemire, leading to the resignation of GM Steve Kerr.
Last summer, the Suns chose to rebuild and not re-sign Steve Nash, dealing him to the Lakers in a sign-and-trade that netted multiple draft picks.
In the offseason, the Suns unsuccessfully tried to sign restricted free agent guard Eric Gordon. They ended up adding Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley, Luis Scola and Jermaine O’Neal.
But the moves have not panned out. The Suns are 13-28 with losing streaks of seven, six and five games. They have dropped seven of their last eight contests, including Thursday’s home matchup with Milwaukee, to fall to the bottom of the Western Conference.
Gentry’s staff includes Elston Turner, who has been considered for head coaching jobs. Other assistants include Dan Majerle, Igor Kokoskov and Noel Gillespie.
Gentry has an all-time coaching record of 335-370 with Miami, Detroit, the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix. He is 12-9 in the playoffs.