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RUMOR: Alvin Gentry’s job appears safe due to Pelicans’ injury situation

Pelicans, Alvin Gentry

The New Orleans Pelicans (6-17) have struggled to find a rhythm through the early stages of this season, which has led to a certain level of speculation about head coach Alvin Gentry’s job security. However, one source close to the team says their rash of injuries is leading to a bit of leeway.

Via Sam Amick and John Hollinger of The Athletic:

A source with knowledge of the Pelicans’ front office thinking made it clear that the rash of injuries is seen as a significant reason to give Gentry and his staff some cover and, eventually, a chance to coach this team once it gets healthy. And while sources say the Pelicans coaches are concerned about their fate here, there are three factors beyond the injury situation that are working in their favor.

The Pelicans have indeed dealt with several injuries this season. The team’s No. 1 overall pick, Zion Williamson, played well in the preseason, but he’s currently sidelined until mid-December after undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee on October 21. The former Duke standout was given a 6-8 week timetable.

New Orleans is riding an eight-game losing streak, which includes an embarrassing 130-84 setback against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. The 46-point margin was two shy of Dallas’ season-high against the Golden State Warriors, according to ESPN.

“I don’t think we competed,” Gentry said after Saturday’s loss, via ESPN. “When they got separation, I didn’t think we competed. I think that’s the worst thing in the world to do, (is) to stop competing.

“So, it’s a terrible game, a poorly played game, a poorly coached game, (and) all of us got to take responsibility. I take as much responsibility as they do, because I’ve got to find a way to get them playing at the highest level that they can and competing, and they didn’t do that.”

In the end, Gentry says his team needs to compete to control their own destiny, lest they become “the pincushion” of the NBA:

“We control our own destiny,” Gentry said. “We’ve got to be the ones that compete. We’ve got to be the ones that play hard. We’ve got to be the ones that (don’t) turn it over. We’ve got to be the ones that rebound. We’ve got to find the open guy. All of those things right there.

“We don’t want to become the pin cushion for the NBA — and the way we’re doing it right now, that’s where we’re headed — we’ll be the pin cushion for the NBA. Everybody will come in and think they can get a win. Everybody will think at home they’re going to get a win, and that’s the worst thing you can be in this league.”

The Pelicans will look to get back into the win column on Monday night when they’ll serve as hosts to the Detroit Pistons. Tip-off inside the Smoothie King Center is set for 8:00 p.m. ET.