- Associated Press - Thursday, September 23, 2010

PHOENIX (AP) - The Phoenix Suns have extended coach Alvin Gentry’s contract through the 2012-13 season.

The move essentially is a one-year extension because the Suns exercised an option three months ago on his previous deal that ran through the 2011-12 season.

In a news release, Suns president Lon Babby said Gentry “proved his mettle as the perfect coach for the Suns last season.”

Last year, in his first full season as coach, Gentry directed the Suns to a surprising third-best record in the Western Conference at 54-28. Phoenix advanced to the conference finals before losing to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.


The 55-year-old Gentry was elevated to head coach when Terry Porter was fired at the All-Star break of the 2008-09 season.

Under his leadership, Phoenix is 72-41, including a 46-12 mark at home. The Suns led the league in scoring both years with an up-tempo playing style based more on rapid ball movement rather than the ultra high-speed game of Phoenix under coach Mike D’Antoni.

Gentry also expanded the Suns‘ player rotation, using five players off the bench for long stretches, a group that gained a reputation for scrappy defense and accurate outside shooting.

He came to Phoenix as an assistant to D’Antoni in 2004, then stayed on when D’Antoni left to coach the New York Knicks and was replaced by Porter in 2008.

Gentry faces the challenge this season of leading an undersized group of good shooters without All-Star Amare Stoudemire, who opted out of his contract and signed with the Knicks.

In the news release, Gentry said the extension shows he is “working for an owner (Robert Sarver) who wants to win and demonstrates the confidence he has in me.”

Gentry has 30 years of coaching experience, including stints as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers from 2000 to 2003, the Detroit Pistons from 1997 to 2000 and the Miami Heat in 1995.

The Suns will hold their media day Monday, then travel to San Diego for a six-day training camp.