Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Nba_basketballsunslakers_f176
BOSTON — Bad teams seldom have sterling chemistry, but there are levels of disgust. The Charlotte Bobcats, for instance, have hung tough as their promising start has turned into another lottery-bound season. Celtics coach Doc Rivers summed up the general consensus among opposing coaches earlier this week when he marveled at the Bobcats’ resilience, saying: “They just keep playing.” The Phoenix Suns, by contrast, have not kept playing — at least, not very well. After a loss here last week, Suns players seemed to suggest serious issues with the morale in their locker room. “We always have lapses,” Suns center Luis Scola said. “Sometimes it happens early, sometimes it happens a little bit later. Sometimes it’s the first unit, sometimes it’s the second unit, but it always happens. And we just lose games because we couldn’t fix it. Even in the games we’ve won, it happens.” “Sooner or later,” Scola added, “we believe something bad’s going to happen.” On the heels of Wednesday’s loss, their seventh in nine games since New Year’s, the Suns and head coach Alvin Gentry reportedly agreed to part ways on Friday. Given the presence of negativity like Scola’s, the change would seem to make some sense. One of a coach’s first responsibilities, after all, is getting his players to believe they can actually win. As with most midseason coaching changes, though, the timing is more a condemnation of ownership and management than of the coach himself. Some close to the team observed Gentry’s exit as a shift to a long-term rebuilding effort, yet Gentry was the first person in the organization to publicly suggest going with younger players. Up to this point, he really did not have that option. For instance, he could not have begun the season starting rookie Kendall Marshall at point guard over Goran Dragic, one of the Suns’ major offseason acquisitions, without raising some hackles. Beyond a move of that nature, Gentry should have done what, exactly? He already decreased Michael Beasley’s playing time in favor of P.J. Tucker, a 27-year-old second-year forward who at least plays defense. Gentry is not the one who built a backcourt that relied heavily on Shannon Brown and Sebastian Telfair. He (presumably) is not the source of a rumored trade that would send Jared Dudley to Memphis in exchange for Rudy Gay, a move that would be lateral at best. The Suns parting ways with Gentry is not the travesty, say, that the Magic’s dismissal of Stan Van Gundy was. Gentry is a perfectly fine NBA coach, if not a franchise-altering one, and he was good enough to lead the Suns to the Western Conference Finals in 2010. But his departure continues the Suns in the direction they have been in since Robert Sarver became majority owner in 2004. That is, downward. Under Jerry Colangelo, the Suns were a model franchise despite sitting just outside the top 10 media markets in the U.S. From 1988 to 2001, the Suns made the playoffs every season and advanced past the first round seven times. The organization rebuilt not just through the draft (Dan Majerle, Michael Finley, Steve Nash, Shawn Marion, Amar’e Stoudemire) but also by buying low in trades (Kevin Johnson, Charles Barkley, Nash again). Since Sarver entered the picture, the transaction history is much less impressive. During the first three years of the Sarver administration, the Suns drafted Luol Deng, Nate Robinson, Marcin Gortat, Rajon Rondo — and traded all of them on draft day. Instead of the foundation of a pretty good team, Gentry was left with a squad of flawed castoffs (Scola, Beasley, Telfair), promising yet unproven new additions (Marshall, Dragic) and a few solid veterans who would be enormous helps to winning teams (Dudley, Gortat, Jermaine O’Neal). In fairness, Gentry deserves blame for failing to stimulate a winning attitude in Phoenix. But considering the collection of talent he was given, it is unclear if that is even what Suns management wanted. This was a team that was built to lose, and Gentry’s biggest blunder may have been not realizing it earlier. His players seemed to know it long ago. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame (https://twitter.com/#!/BenjeeBallgame) or send it here. (http://www.nesn.com/ben-watanabe-bio.html#mailbag)
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ray Rice wins appeal, can sign with any team

Athletics deal Josh Donaldson to Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie

Ohio governor decrees playoff committee honorary Ohioans

Lance Stephenson becoming a problem with the Hornets?

Tony Romo: I promise I'll be better next week

Seahawks could wait to address Russell Wilson's contract

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: SMU football to hire Clemson offensive coordinator

Dez Bryant: Eagles were ‘kinda cheap’

Hockey goalie rushes into stands to perform CPR on fan

49ers CEO Jed York apologizes for unacceptable performance

Family searching for missing Ohio State football player

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE, says he'll never return

What if the Chargers refused to trade Eli Manning?

Why is there a red seat hanging in the Mall of America?

WATCH: Mickey Rourke TKO’d a man half his age in Moscow

What's next for the 49ers?

The most tone-deaf tweet ever?

Five bold predictions for Week 13 in the NFL

Brady Quinn pens 'note' to Jets quarterback Geno Smith

Bills center Eric Wood gained 7.4 pounds at Thanksgiving

Cubs reliever somehow OK after being involved in awful accident

Seahawks players throw shade at 49ers after victory

Five takeaways from NFL's Thanksgiving Day action

Things to be thankful for in the NBA this season

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

What if the Chargers didn't trade Eli?

Dez Bryant: Eagles were ‘kinda cheap’

Ray Rice wins appeal, can sign with any team

What's next for the 49ers?

The most tone-deaf tweet ever?

Is Lance a problem for the Hornets?

5 NFL takeaways from Thanksgiving

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks Eminem

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.