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Transcript: Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry media availability – July 10, 2020

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Alvin Gentry Media Availability – July 10, 2020

On when he received final word that he was clear to travel to Orlando with the team:
“This has been really, really tough for everyone. I mean obviously you look at the NBA trying to put this whole thing together, so if you are asking me when I got the word, I got the word the day we were leaving that I was definitely clear to go. As I said, it’s been tough on everyone. I wish it could have been done sooner. I wish everything would have been decided sooner. It wasn’t, but I’m here. That was my ultimate goal is to be here and coach my team and that’s where I am right now.”

On if the NBA has placed any restrictions on him in Orlando:
“We have not talked about that, but that’s something that will be covered I’m sure. Either way, I’m fine with it. Whatever we have to do to get through the thing and make it as safe as we possibly can, that’s what we’re willing to do.”

On his takeaways from today’s first practice in Orlando:
“First of all, I think our guys were just happy to be back out on the court. I think that was the main thing is to just get back out there and be together. We went through some things. It wasn’t really a tough practice, but we just tried to get the timing back on some plays. We put back in some defensive concepts. We ran up and down a little bit and played just to see where we kind of were from a conditioning standpoint, but we’ve still got a lot of days left before we play…twenty days left before we play. So we didn’t feel like we had to just ramp it up in one day. We’ll continue to add stuff every day. We’ll continue to see where we are from a conditioning standpoint, but overall I thought the guys had good focus. I thought they were really into it. I thought they were just happy to be back on the court and to be with each other.”

On determining when to ramp up practice:
“We’ve sat down as a coaching staff and we have a plan together. Obviously there’s twenty days before we play, so we’ve talked about what we’re going to do in each practice, the intensity of that practice, and where we’d like to be at the end of the practice and see where we are. Obviously we may have to make some adjustments along the way. Planning a practice twenty days in advance is pretty tough, but we want to try to take each step so that by the time we get to (July 30), we’re back in basketball shape, we’re back in basketball timing, and everybody is feeling good about where we are as far as shooting the ball and defensively.”

On if everybody on the flight is COVID-free and how the general process of settling into the bubble has been:
“Everyone is here, so…I don’t really know the details of everything, but I know all of our guys are here and they’re ready to go. That’s the thing that I do know. From a testing standpoint, you’re going to have to ask somebody else that question because I’m not familiar with everything that has gone on.”

On what trying to live a normal life in a bubble has been like for the past two days:
“Number one, it’s new to everyone. There’s no one here that has every experienced this or been through this. It’s definitely new to everyone. It has been difficult for us because we just got here, we just came out of…we’ve been quarantined until today at 1:30. We really hadn’t had any experience as far as the campus or what’s going on. We’ll start that when we get back tomorrow. Like I said, from the time we’ve gotten here, we’ve been quarantined up until today. From a feel of the campus and what’s going on, we don’t really know. I think everybody here is going overboard as far as trying to be cautious. I think the number one concern here is health. Everyone, I think feels that way…the players, the coaches, all of the NBA staff, the writers. Everybody here understands that this is a different situation and I think everybody here is proceeding with caution in every corner, everywhere they walk, which is the most important thing that I think anybody can do. Eventually we’ll get to the part where it’s the new normal and everybody feels pretty good about it, and I think you adjust…you adjust to everything, so we’ll adjust to being here and do the best we can to make it as good as we can.”

On not having Jeff Bzdelik in Orlando and what it’s going to take to replace everything he has brought to the coaching staff:
“Well I think (it’s tough) anytime you lose one of your coaches who is an integral part of everything that you’re doing. He took our defense once we really got settled in – we had that tough stretch of games, but once we got settled in I think defensively we’ve been really solid. The last month that we played we were very solid, were making good progress. Guys were really locking into the rotations and the things that we were doing defensively. Jeff’s going to be involved. It may be from afar, but he’s going to be involved in every practice. He’s going to be involved in every game. He’ll be involved in every gameplan situation. He’s not here from a physical standpoint, but he will still be involved in everything that we do down here.”

On how Zion Williamson looked in practice today:
“Zion looked great. I think he’s been working. As I told you guys before, I think he did a lot of work when we were going through these days where we weren’t together and we weren’t doing anything. His stepfather did a fantastic job of working him out every day, of making him be in good conditioning when we got him back. He’s made a lot of strides in his shooting, I think. Although we weren’t together, he did a lot to improve his game. That’s the toughest thing to do: working on your game when you’re by yourself. His stepfather Lee (Anderson) has done a fantastic job of trying to keep him basketball-ready

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