Tag:Terry Porter
Posted on: February 16, 2009 4:04 pm

When does the buck stop with Steve Kerr?

PHOENIX – The worst-kept secret in the NBA became official Monday afternoon when Suns president Steve Kerr announced he was replacing fired coach Terry Porter with assistant Alvin Gentry.

“I’ve signed a multi-week contract,” Gentry joked, referring to the interim tag his appointment carries with it.

How many more weeks are left on Kerr’s contract, by the way?

With that statement, Gentry unwittingly touched on the state of flux that continues to engulf the organization. Kerr said the coaching change does not preclude any changes to the roster before Thursday’s trade deadline. He’s still taking and placing calls, with the crux of the matter being whether Phoenix finishes the season with the roster intact, tries to make a trade that will improve it in the short term, or buckle to financial pressures and dump salary in a move toward the future.

“I know you all are waiting for me to say we’re not going to trade anybody,” Kerr said. “But this is the NBA. This is business as usual.”

Business as usual for the Suns, anyway.

While Kerr said his intention is to “keep what we have and go forward and see what we can do with it,” he left out the part about whether everyone in the organization wants to do that. There have been strong indications in recent weeks that managing partner Robert Sarver is pushing for financially motivated trades that would dump salary and clear cap space for the future. I can’t imagine Sarver is eager to keep the roster intact after eating about $4 million of Porter’s contract only 51 games into it.

So the dysfunction continues, and Kerr is next with the bull’s eye on his chest. Asked how he likes his job, he smiled and said, “Just peachy.”

Just another day in paradise.


Posted on: February 14, 2009 4:43 am
Edited on: February 15, 2009 4:27 am

Gentry in line to replace Porter (UPDATE)

PHOENIX -- Terry Porter's job, like the Phoenix Suns' roster, has been hanging in the balance for several weeks. As Suns managing partner Robert Sarver grapples with which direction to take next, there is a "good chance" assistant Alvin Gentry will take over the head coaching job, a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com.

That decision, like the fate of Amare Stoudemire, Shaquille O'Neal, and numerous other players, is in the hands of the fickle Sarver, who denied Friday that Porter's job is in danger.

“No, no. That’s an erroneous rumor,” Sarver told the Arizona Republic when asked about a New York Post report that Porter would be fired and replaced by team president Steve Kerr.

But the Suns have been discussing every aspect of their flatlining organization for several weeks, including whether to dump salary and trade either Stoudemire or O'Neal and whether to abandon the failed experiment of replacing Mike D'Antoni with Porter, a defensive-minded coach saddled with frustrated players forced to play a dramatically different style than the up-tempo one that was good for 58 wins per season over the past four years.

The person with knowledge of discussions about Porter's job security stressed that nothing is certain until Sarver actually signs off on it.

"Everything's fluid until the moment it actually happens," the person said.

UPDATE: In fact, urgency within the organization to make a coaching change appears to have overshadowed efforts to make a major trade before Thursday's deadline. According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Sarver leaned hard on Kerr to seriously consider moving to the bench, but Kerr managed to avert such an untenable situation. He wants to coach someday, but the Suns' situation is too dysfunctional for learning on the job. With no ideal offer on the table for Stoudemire, Kerr now appears focused on making the right coaching decision, with Gentry the most sensible candidate -- at least in the short term. The Suns may consider expanding their search for a long-term replacement if Porter is fired or reassigned.

The appeal of Gentry is two-fold -- his experience and ties to the D'Antoni regime. His familiarity with the D'Antoni offensive system in which the Suns thrived would appeal to Steve Nash and Stoudemire, both of whom could be reinvigorated by the change.

Porter told the Arizona Republic Friday that neither Sarver nor Kerr had spoken to him about losing his job.

Gentry, previously a head coach with the Clippers, Pistons, and Heat, is a holdover from D'Antoni's staff who didn't join the former Suns coach on the Knicks' bench in New York. Gentry was viewed by some as a logical replacement when D'Antoni left amid disagreements with management over the direction of the Suns' roster following Kerr's decision to trade Shawn Marion to Miami for Shaquille O'Neal in February 2008.

If Sarver goes through with the decision to fire Porter and replace him with Gentry, he would be repudiating Kerr's decision to hire Porter in the first place. It is a point that was not lost on longtime Suns executive Jerry Colangelo, who seemed to implicate Kerr in the Suns' current struggles when he spoke Friday at a Basketball Hall of Fame news conference.

"When Steve Kerr selected Terry Porter, that was his guy," Colangelo said. "He had the faith and confidence in him. It’s either worked out or hasn’t or it’s something that’s being questioned right now. Steve has to be responsive to that one way or the other. Terry’s a good guy. He’s worked hard at it. He inherited a team in transition. People have to be held accountable, and those making those decisions should consider all of that."


Posted on: February 5, 2009 10:52 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2009 8:59 am

Suns ready to make a deal

We told you a few weeks ago that the struggling Phoenix Suns were seriously considering the possibility of trading Amare Stoudemire as their franchise continues to unravel.

We told you Thursday with Jason Horowitz that there have been significant developments since then, and that the Suns' brass were considering firing coach Terry Porter, or trading Stoudemire or Shaq.

Now the Suns have reached a crossroads: Everything is on the table -- a coaching change, a big trade, and another new direction.

Sources have told CBSSports.com that the organization is poised for a major relaunch before the Feb. 19 trade deadline, with the first option believed to be a trade that would divest cash-strapped owner Robert Sarver of massive obligations to Stoudemire or O'Neal.

Frustration in the front office and locker room boiled over last Saturday night, when the Suns lost to the Bulls at home. Sarver, president Steve Kerr, coaches, and two players -- Steve Nash and Grant Hill -- met behind closed doors for almost an hour after the loss. But two people familiar with the situation said that meeting was overblown; essentially, it was an extension of a series of soul-searching sessions under way recently. Sarver's tolerance for losses both basketball and financial have been seriously diminished by the economic downturn; he's in the banking business, not the best business to be in during the current financial catastrophe.

Failing to assert themselves as a serious contender, the Suns are seeking to bring back young talent on rookie contracts, draft picks,  and if possible, expiring contracts in any deal for Stoudemire or Shaq. Things seemed to stabilize after the closed-door meeting when the Suns blew out Sacramento by 48 points in their next game. But inconsistency has been their only staple; Phoenix followed up with an inexcusable loss to Golden State, which exemplified the run-and-gun style that was good for 58 wins a year the past four seasons under Mike D'Antoni in Phoenix.

Those days are over, and it appears that it's time to tear things down and start over.



The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com