Suns set to give pink slip to head coach Porter
Phoenix Suns head Terry Porter is expected to join the ranks of the unemployed this week, dpa reported.
Porter could receive his pink slip as early as Monday, and likely be replaced by Suns' lead assistant Alvin Gentry on an interim basis, according to reports on the Arizona Republic's website.
However, no decision on a replacement has been made yet.
In his first season behind the Suns' bench, Porter has guided the club to a respectable 28-23 record, but they are in ninth place in an eight-team playoff race in the highly-competitive Western Conference.
Recent trade rumours have also surfaced in and around Phoenix - the host city of the NBA All-Star Weekend - that All-Star forwards Amare Stoudemire and Shaquille O'Neal may be dealt in an attempt to cut costs.
Porter inked a three-year contract with roughly 7 million dollars to replace Mike D'Antoni before the start of the season. D'Antoni and his uptempo style was wildly successful, averaging 58 wins over a four season span, but the porous defence was a liability in the playoffs.
However, the players have had a tough time adapting to his no- nonsense style, and there has been no marked improvement on the defensive end, resulting in inconsistency.
Unhappy with the new system, core players Boris Diaw and Raja Bell were dealt to Charlotte in December for scoring guard Jason Richardson as the Suns attempted to return to their high-scoring winning ways.
Gentry, 54, will be taking the reins of his third NBA club, where he owns a 177-226 record with the Detroit Pistons and LA Clippers. He is expected to bring the fun and gun style back to the Suns, led by floor-leader and two-time league MVP Steve Nash.
Should Porter get his walking papers, he would become the eighth head coach fired this season, one short of the record set in 2004-05.
Already dismissed were: Marc Iavaroni (Memphis): PJ Carlesimo (Oklahoma City); Eddie Jordan (Washington); Sam Mitchell (Toronto); Randy Wittman (Minnesota) Maurice Cheeks (Philadelphia) and Reggie Theus (Sacramento).