Alvin Gentry, the Suns, Real Estate and the Blame Game

GremlinsThere’s an ancient maxim in sports that you can’t fire the players so you’ve got to fire the coach/manager. (Unless you’re Connie Mack and you happen to own the club.)

Yesterday morning, the Phoenix Suns “parted ways” with their coach of the past four years, Alvin Gentry. For those not paying attention, the Suns have been abysmal this season – 13 losses in their past 15 games, one of the worst defenses in the league and a spot in the basement of the Western Conference.

Yet it’s hard to blame Gentry, who is working with a roster containing nine new players and three new starters. And it truly appears the result is less than the sum of the individual roster parts, not because of coaching, but because of the yawning gaps in various roles – a reliable scorer, a consistent bench, team chemistry.

At the center of the new roster is the enigmatic Michael Beasley, who shows flashes of tremendous talent but also glaring cluelessness. If anyone else joked about seeing gremlins on the rim of the basket, there would be considerable laughter. When Beasley said it, one starts to wonder if he really sees them. (And yes, the Jonathan Dalton of and I are one and the same. Call it a blatant plug for my moonlighting as a sportswriter.)

While Gentry’s not completely blameless, he’s also not the cause of the Suns woes this season. But, as the head coach, it’s his head on the chopping block.

The same thing happens for those of us who sell real estate for a living. We are, at best, at the mercy of our buyers and sellers. While we can recommend, we can’t force anyone to do what we tell them to do. Buyers and owners alike either will listen or they won’t and we have to adjust as best we can.

One of my colleagues has clients who are being unduly influences by the Zestimate for the property they’re buying. He has run comps to show them they’re getting the house at a good price. The appraisal came in a couple thousand over asking price. The inspections have been completed and there virtually are no repairs needed.

Still … the clients still hint that they think they are overpaying, in spite of the comps, in spite of the appraisal. And when it comes time to ask for referrals, it’s almost certain these buyers will have lodged in their brain that they overpaid when all evidence says they aren’t.

It happens all the time. Two months ago I met clients for lunch; the first word out of the husband’s mouth was “I still we think we could have gotten the place for $195(k).” Probably not … we already were well under asking price … but that perception, that blame if you will, remains.

Such is the way of things. My peer doesn’t necessarily deserve the blame being attached to him. Though in some cases agents make remarkably stupid mistakes, more often we take the blame for things out of our control.

The same goes for Gentry who, if he so desires, should be able to get a new coaching gig with little trouble. He got the blame because the blame had to be assigned and the management isn’t going to admit they put together a horrifically bad roster.

Such is the way of things.


Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at