NEW ORLEANS — Days after agreeing to a blockbuster trade that brought three young players and three draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Anthony Davis, the team’s front office made its next move: securing the leader of the new-look squad.

The Pelicans announced they’ve picked up the team option of head coach Alvin Gentry’s contract for the 2020-21 season.

“We couldn’t be happier to extend our relationship with Alvin,” David Griffin, the Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations, said in a statement. “He is exactly the right coach at the right time for this franchise. As I have mentioned several times previously, the shared vision we have for the future of Pelicans basketball both on and off the floor will enable us to build a roster that fits both culturally and tactically.

“Perhaps more importantly, the relationship we have built over our many years together will enable us to challenge, empower and further one another and our franchise.”

Griffin believes that Gentry’s offensive focus with be a stylistic fit for the roster he is assembling. In the deal for Davis, the Pelicans acquired Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram from the Los Angeles Lakers.

At many points during last season, drama swirled around the Pelicans. Davis publicly requested a trade ahead of the February deadline, but Feb. 7 passed and Davis remained on the Pelicans’ roster. Days later, then-general manager Dell Demps was fired.

Many people within the organization credited Gentry with being a calming presence internally during a turbulent time. As one front office staff member put it, “His personality is like Icy Hot — eases the pain and tension in a tough time.”

On Thursday, the Pelicans are expected to use their No. 1 draft pick to select Zion Williamson — a prospect they can rebuild their franchise around.


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