Alvin Gentry out as Suns coach

PHOENIX — Alvin Gentry is out as the Phoenix Suns coach.

The Suns announced the change Friday morning via a statement saying the team and Gentry had “mutually agreed to part ways.” Gentry was under contract through the end of the current season.

The team said an interim head coach would be named within 48 hours. Immediate speculation centered on assistant coach Elston Turner and player development assistant Lindsey Hunter.

“Alvin’s hard work, dedication and coaching ability over the last nine years have been an important part of the success of our organization,” Suns managing partner Robert Sarver said.  “These partings are never easy but are, unfortunately, part of the business of professional sports.  I wish nothing but the best for Alvin and his family.”

Gentry was in his fifth season as the Suns head coach. He was promoted in February 2009 after Terry Porter was fired midway through his first season on the job. Gentry had previously served as an assistant on Mike D’Antoni’s staff.

“After nine years with the Suns, the organization and I came to a mutual agreement to go in different directions,” Gentry said in a statement.  “I have the utmost respect for Robert (Sarver) and what he’s done with the organization. It’s unfortunate that I was unable to accomplish what I set out to do here.”

After finishing out the 2009 season as interim coach, Gentry was named head

coach in May 2009. He leaves with a 158-144 record. He coached the Suns

to the Western Conference Finals in 2010, but they have not returned to

the postseason since.

The roster has been overhauled drastically

in the past two seasons, culminating with the trade of two-time MVP

Steve Nash to the Lakers for draft picks last July.

The Suns

reached the midpoint of the 2012-13 season with a 13-28 record after

suffering a 98-94 loss to Milwaukee on Thursday night. It was the Bucks

first win in Phoenix in 25 years.

Gentry looked and sounded forlorn in meeting with reporters following the loss, taking a long pause while discussing the team’s offensive struggles before regaining his composure and saying: “We’re not very good right now. We’re not playing well.”

Thursday night’s loss was the fourth in a row at home for the Suns, and their 13th in the last 15 games overall. They have the worst record in the Western Conference, and the fourth worst overall — better than only Washington, Charlotte and Cleveland.

“All of us, including Alvin, realized that the pieces weren’t fitting,” said Lon Babby, president of basketball operations. “To be sure, integrating nine new players was a challenge.  Alvin is a good coach and a good person.  I wish him the best.  As for us, we will remain focused on moving this team forward.”

The Suns have a five-day break before their next game on Wednesday in Sacramento.

Suns forward Channing Frye tweeted: “I have grown so much playing under

Alvin Gentry. I wish him and his family the best. He’s a great coach and

a better man.”