Poor finish, high expectations led to exit

Updated: May 8, 2004, 8:26 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW ORLEANS -- Tim Floyd's second chance as an NBA head coach ended after just one disappointing season.

Tim Floyd

New Orleans fired Floyd on Friday, days after the Hornets were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat.

"We thank Tim for his hard work, but we are in a bottom-line business," owner George Shinn said at a news conference. "He is a good person. He's going to live in this community. He loves New Orleans. This is tough. But I have a bigger passion with bigger dreams to make this team successful ... and we were not successful."

Shinn declined to discuss potential replacements. He said no decision had been made about Floyd's assistant coaches, who include former Los Angeles Clippers head coach Alvin Gentry.

Floyd did not return a message left on his personal phone.

"We're going to be looking for someone that has succeeded in the NBA," Shinn said. "It's not just a person that can handle and manage X's and O's, it's a person that can manage these egos and the personalities. ... It takes a special individual and we're committed to finding that individual."

"I thought Tim did a terrific job," Gentry, currently a Hornets assistant, told ESPN Radio on Friday night. "Winning 41 games and then taking Miami seven games into the playoffs. I thought it was a good year. Obviously, they didn't and it was their decision to be made.

"I am interested in being the head coach, but I have not even given it any consideration. I worked for a guy that's been a good friend for the last 27 years. Obviously, I would have liked to see him succeed here, but it hadn't even entered my thought process," Gentry said.

With Terry Stotts fired by the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, five NBA coaches -- all in the Eastern Conference -- have lost their jobs since the regular season ended less than a month ago. Boston (Doc Rivers) and Philadelphia (Jim O'Brien) have hired replacements; Toronto is still looking for a new coach.

Floyd was hired by New Orleans last summer with the expectation of guiding the Hornets deep into the playoffs in the team's last year in the East before switching to the tougher Western Conference.

But a combination of injuries and chemistry problems that Floyd struggled to control contributed to a 41-41 regular season and an opening-round playoff loss.

The Hornets were eliminated in Game 7 Tuesday night; general manager Bob Bass stepped down Wednesday during a news conference that Floyd attended.

Floyd's overall NBA record, including playoffs, is 93-235. He replaced Phil Jackson as the Chicago Bulls' coach in the post-Michael Jordan era and went 49-190 before resigning in December 2001.

Floyd, a successful college coach, got another chance in the pros with the Hornets, replacing Paul Silas. He referred to his hiring as a dream opportunity with a talented, veteran club in a city he loved and always planned to call home.

Some of those veterans, however, were unsure about Floyd, who not only came in with one of the worst records in NBA history but never played professionally.

Then came injuries before the season -- to All-Star Jamal Mashburn and top reserve Courtney Alexander. Alexander missed the entire season, and Mashburn missed all but 19 games during the regular season, then was left off the playoff roster.

David Wesley also missed a long stretch of the season with a toe injury, and All-Star guard Baron Davis sprained his ankle late in the season and played through pain in the playoffs.