- Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Senior Writer
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Gentry was sought by Rivers because of his institutional knowledge of the franchise, for which he was a head coach from 2001 to 2003, and his reputation as an offensive-minded coach who helped get the best out of Amar'e Stoudemire in Phoenix. Gentry will be asked to do similar work in L.A. with young Clippers forward Blake Griffin.
Gentry was a finalist for the head-coaching jobs in Memphis and Charlotte this year but always had something of a standing offer to join Mike D'Antoni's staff with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would've been an assistant coach.
Gentry has a longstanding friendship with D'Antoni, dating to their days on Phoenix's bench between 2004 and 2008, but the Lakers coach gave his blessing to Gentry's taking an associate head-coaching role on Rivers' staff Wednesday morning.
Last month in a radio interview with ESPNLA 710, Gentry said he thought the Lakers would be "really good next year" and that "you're going to see a new Dwight Howard next year." Joining the Lakers would also have provided a reunion with Steve Nash, whom Gentry coached to the 2010 Western Conference finals while in Phoenix.
Gentry also said in that radio interview that he was interested in the Clippers' head-coaching position, and he was considered as a candidate in the early stages of the search.
"It just needs a little tweaking," Gentry said last month. "I don't think you need to have someone come in and do completely the opposite. Vinny [Del Negro] did a good job, and I think everyone knows that. They need someone who can manage egos. That's huge with that team."
Gentry, the Clippers' head coach from 2000 to 2003, has said he's maintained good relationships with the franchise even though his previous tenure ended with him being fired midway through his third season.
"The one year [2001-02] we went 39-43, we just could not win some of the close games down the stretch because we were just so young," Gentry said.
Odom subsequently publicly apologized to Gentry for his immaturity during those years.