Tag:Utah Jazz
Posted on: February 20, 2011 1:27 am
Edited on: February 20, 2011 1:48 am

Deron Williams and the Knickerbocker issue

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Deron Williams began informing associates after last season that he would follow Amar'e Stoudemire to New York. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com dropped a bombshell Saturday night amid talk of a Dolan-Isiah-Walsh conflict over Melo, the Nets' meeting with Anthony, and this whole ugly mess. From Berger: 

A person with knowledge of the conversations told CBSSports.com on Saturday that Jazz point guard Deron Williams began informing close associates after last season that if Stoudemire wound up in New York, Williams would follow him there as a free agent in 2012. If the Knicks got Anthony with the three-year extension under current rules, it is not clear whether they'd have enough cap space to add a player such as Williams, Chris Paul or Dwight Howard when the trio become unrestricted free agents after next season.
via Nets reportedly back in on Melo after Dolan jumps in - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball .

So here's how this play will probably get executed. 

Williams will, of course, strongly deny the report tomorrow whenever a reporter manages to ask him. Half the people will freak out over the media and half will freak out because of the implications of this on the current season. That's how these things are structured, to leak word while providing cover. Just enough for there to be analysis of the player's fit with the prospective team, and just enough to allow for hand-wringing over the veracity of the claim. 

Williams just came through the resignation of Jerry Sloan, with reports indicating Williams was involved in a locker room confrontation the night before Sloan announced he was leaving the Jazz after over two decades. Williams vehemently denied any such conflict with Sloan, but the repercussions caused by the Hall of Fame coach's departure are still being felt. 

At the time, we talked about how Deron leaving after that debacle would be "worse than LeBron ." News that Williams has been considering a departure for such a major market before this season will leave its mark on the Jazz even as the team flounders, trying to hold on to a playoff spot. Welcome to the big time, Deron Williams. You might want to get some advice from Melo on how crazy it's going to get. 
Posted on: February 12, 2011 12:08 am
Edited on: February 12, 2011 12:09 am

Karl Malone tees off a bit about Jerry Sloan

Posted by Royce Young

Everyone was a bit confused when Jerry Sloan abruptly turned his resignation Thursday. After 23 years at the helm of the Utah Jazz, something just seemed... off.

Fans and media weren't the only ones to feel that way. One of Sloan's most legendary players felt it too. Karl Malone was in Utah and spoke with reporters about Sloan's resignation, via the Salt Lake Tribune.

Malone's money quote: "I will say this: I know my coach. I know my coach. And I know my assistant coach. And I know all these coaches. The coach I know and the man I know have never quit or resigned in anything. That's what I want to say."

When pressed on it, Malone said, "What I said is what I said. I know Jerry Sloan. And the people that know him the closest know that man would never resign or quit if you want to, on nothing. I don't care what it is."

What that necessarily means is up to interpretation. But it's not hard to read between the lines there. Malone is pushing forward the idea that Sloan didn't necessarily make this decision entirely on his own. The Jazz organization wants you to believe nothing was up and that Sloan just got tired. But Malone isn't buying that.

Malone also indicated that he wants to "carry on" Sloan's legacy in terms of coaching. So The Mailman wants to coach at some point. Whether that means professionally or at a different level, that's pretty interesting.
Posted on: February 11, 2011 7:35 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 7:48 pm

Agent: Steve Nash on trade block this summer

The agent for Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash says his client could be traded this summer. Posted by Ben Golliver. steve-nash

The Phoenix Suns have weathered the post-Amar'e storm better than, say, the Cleveland Cavaliers or Toronto Raptors have handled the departures of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, but they've still had their share of struggles. 

Throughout the tough on-court stretch, whispers regarding the future of veteran point guard Steve Nash have grown louder and louder. But even as the Suns fell well below .500, the team's management and Nash himself both vigorously denied any and all trade rumors. 

Finally: a crack in that facade. ESPN.com reports that Nash's agent Bll Duff, believes that Nash will be placed on the trade market this summer. 
"Steve is a Phoenix Sun and I don't think it's an exaggeration to say he's the face of that franchise," Duffy said. "But logic dictates that it would be prudent for the Suns to start looking at their long-term future in the summer, so we would expect that they may entertain moving him during the summer. We are ready for that and we anticipate a very respectful process if they decide to look at starting over with a younger core."
Phoenix has turned thing around a bit lately following a blockbuster December trade with the Orlando Magic, reaching .500 this week and sitting just outside the Western Conference playoff chase with a record of 25-25. There's no question that the current team, led by Nash, could make a playoff push, with teams like the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz potentially falling back to the pack.

Duffy's comment, then, is likely an effort to buy his client some time and peace of mind in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline. The Suns might as well ride Nash as far as he will take them this season. Nevertheless, a public acknowledgement that the Suns might look to part ways with their franchise player in the near future qualifies as a fairly big headline, especially given the track record the team has presented up until this point.
Posted on: February 11, 2011 6:03 pm

Kobe Bryant defends Deron Williams

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant stands up for Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams, saying he shouldn't be blamed for Jerry Sloan's resignation.kobe-deronPosted by Ben Golliver.

On Thursday, Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams took to the radio airwaves to defend himself from accusations that he prompted legendary Jazz coach Jerry Sloan's abrupt resignation. The Jazz also did their best to close ranks and stamp down the drama by expressing support for Sloan, new coach Tyrone Corbin and Williams during a press conference.

Thursday night, Yahoo! Sports reported that another voice emerged to defend Williams: Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant's. 
“People need to leave D-Will the [expletive] alone on this,” Kobe Bryant told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday night. Bryant and Williams have competed in the Western Conference for years and won an Olympic gold medal together for USA Basketball at the 2008 Beijing Games. “Leave him alone. He doesn’t deserve to be at the front of this. That’s horse…. He’s a great competitor. He works his butt off. He’s always been a great leader. He’s clutch, performs under pressure. Enjoy the 23 great years that Jerry Sloan gave them, but don’t put this on Deron Williams.”
Couldn't agree more with Bryant. 

As noted earlier today, Sloan has been through every imaginable fire and argument during a career that spanned six (!) decades as a player and coach.  There's nothing Williams -- who is a gamer and known to be a bit surly, but never a cancer -- could say or do that Sloan hasn't already dealt with before. 

A player can get a coach fired. A GM can get a coach fired. An owner can fire a coach. But it's much, much more difficult for any player to get a coach to resign his position. Especially when that coach is as principled, consistent and disciplined as Sloan has been during his 23-year tenure in Utah.

Williams, even though he's an All-Star, is just one of hundreds of players Sloan has coached. None of them could make Sloan walk away from the game like he did on Thursday. Only Sloan could do that.  
Posted on: February 11, 2011 10:32 am

Get your tissues: Jerry Sloan's resignation

Jerry Sloan walks away a legend in an emotional press conference announcing his resignation.
Posted by Matt Moore

What? It's dusty in here. Quit looking at me like that. Like you've never cried at a coach retiring after 35 years of abject death glares.

As strange as yesterday was, it will pale in comparison to how bizarre it will be if Sloan were to coach elsewhere. Even his time on the Bulls seems like some strange out-of-place idea from another universe.  To see him elsewhere next season would be mistifying. That said, any team that is looking for a new head coach this summer is going to be making a lot of very loud calls should Sloan decide he's up for one more rodeo somewhere else. 

Seriously. It's like "Steel Magnolias" in here. 
Category: NBA
Posted on: February 10, 2011 8:29 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 5:04 am

Deron Williams denies rumors, lashes out at media

Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams denied and downplayed rumors that a disagreement between he and coach Jerry Sloan led to Sloan's resignation and lashed out at the media's portrayal of the situation. Posted by Ben Golliver.


On Thursday, Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan tendered his resignation, and rumors immediately began swirling that a rift had developed between Sloan and Utah's All-Star point guard Deron Williams.

In a Thursday afternoon interview with David Locke on KFAN 1320 in Salt Lake City, Williams downplayed those reports and lashed out at the media's treatment of the situation.

Williams began with his initial reaction to today's news: "It sucks. I didn't think he would ever retire in the middle of the season," Williams said. "I watched the press conference and he said it was his time."

Williams then took a swipe at reporters claming that he had a role in Sloan's departure. "All those guys, Ric Bucher, Chris Broussard, they're all in our locker room everyday," Williams deadpanned. "I'll let them report what they want to report, that's what they are paid to do. That's why I'm always short and rude with the media, because they're your friend. Ric comes in and sits by me every time I see him, acts like he's my friend, but the day they find something they want to spin, they jump on it. That's why I am the way I am and will continue to be the way I am."

Williams did admit that he and Sloan had had differences of opinions during his time in Utah. "Me and Coach Sloan, I don't want to say [we had] a rocky relationship, but we've have our disagreements over the years. Probably no more than any other coach and player have arguments. We're both competitive, we're both very stubborn. I think that's where we clash. One thing we always agreed on is that we both wanted to win."

Williams denied a report that he had approached Jazz management saying that he wouldn't re-sign with the team when he's a free agent if Sloan was still the head coach. "That's not true. I would never force coach Sloan out of Utah. He's meant more to this town and organization than I have by far. It's not my place." 

As for a report that he and Sloan almost came to blows during halftime of last night's game, Williams confirmed that a "disagreement" took place, but downplayed the severity of it. "I don't know, we just had a disagreement. We've had them before, we've had worse ones. I've seen him have worse ones with other players.  Jerry is very fiery, I guess that's the word to use. I am too. Sometimes we clash on things."

Williams said that his relationship with Sloan this year has been similar to his previous years in Utah. "It's been pretty much the same, we get along a lot, we disagree sometimes, but we both want to win. It has been a frustrating year. We felt we were supposed to be a little better than we have been.

"I've been lucky. Not many people get to come into the league and play for a Hall of Fame coach for the first six years. Chance to learn from one of the best. I've won a lot of basketball games because of Coach Sloan."

Asked one final time if he asked or wanted Sloan removed as head coach of the Utah Jazz, Williams replied, "No, sir." 
Category: NBA
Posted on: February 10, 2011 6:57 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 8:40 pm

Jazz honor Sloan, deny drama, hand keys to Corbin

The Utah Jazz accepted the resignation of coach Jerry Sloan, defended their franchise from talk of turmoil and handed the head coaching reigns to assistant Tyrone Corbin during a press conference Thursday. Posted by Ben Golliver.

During a nationally-televised press conference held at at Zions Bank Basketball Center on Thursday, the Utah Jazz announced that they had accepted the resignation of legendary head coach Jerry Sloan, who had coached the team for 23 years.  Sloan's long-time assistant coach Phil Johnson also stepped down.

"Today is a new day," Sloan said. "I get this over with, I know I'm going to feel much better. My time is up. It's time for me to move on." 

Sloan was flanked by a number of Jazz executives, including President Randy Rigby, GM Kevin O'Connor, CEO Greg Miller and Gail Miller, the widow of late owner Larry H. Miller. Each took a moment to thank Sloan for his service to the franchise.

"The greatest compliment that we can give is that you gave us your best," Rigby said. "You made us a better team, a better organization and a better community.

"I know all good things must come to an end," Gail Miller said, fighting back tears. "Today is the end of an amazing era ... Jerry had become an institution as far as this franchise is concerned ... I will always remember you as the solid and stable foundation that the Utah Jazz was built on."

Earlier Thursday, reports swirled that a rift between Sloan and the team's All-Star point guard, Deron Williams, had precipitated Sloan's decision to abruptly leave the bench. O'Connor, Greg Miller and Sloan all denied that was the case. 

"I'm sure you're going to hear a lot of things about why or where and everything else," O'Connor said. "But up until about 10 minutes ago we were still trying to talk both Jerry and Phil out of leaving."

Greg Miller made a point of saying that walking was Sloan's decision alone: "Nobody pushed Jerry or Phil out. No players pushed him out, Kevin didn't push him out, an aspiring head coach didn't push him out and I certainly didn't push him out. I've loved and respected Jerry for as long as I can remember ... I have great respect and admiration for Jerry and I will miss him."

Miller repeated O'Conner's statement that the Jazz had actively worked to change Sloan's mind. "This morning, when we met with Jerry as a family he informed us that the time had come for him to do that," Miller recounted. "As much as I hated hearing that, I have to respect that it's his decision and his life. I assure you that all of us that were in the room threw everything we had at him to try to get him to stay."

Sloan said the decision had been building for some time. ""I thought about it a few days ago, and it just seemed like this is the time to do it ... It's just a matter of me deciding it was time for me to leave ... I try not to make a big deal out of most things, anyway. Go forward. "

Age played a role in his decision. "My energy level has dropped off a little bit," Sloan admitted. "I think it's time someone else gets a chance."

To underscore this point, Sloan said there would be no comeback: "No, I'm not looking for another job. My wife has a job for me when I get home."

Shortly after the press conference, Jazz forward C.J. Miles hinted on Twitter that there had been a disagreement recently. "Man ... I still can believe it actually went down I was sure that it was gonna be squashed today and he wouldn't do it." 

Asked specifically whether any confrontation with players had factored into the decision, Sloan did acknowledge that he's had confrontations in the past but didn't divulge any specifics or confirm any of the speculation. "I've had confrontations with players since I've been in the league," Sloan said. "I've coached a number of guys that I've had confrontations with. Those things are minor ... that's the way it is."

Greg Miller made a point to stand behind his organization's coaching staff now and in the future. "It's extremely important for the players to know that we support the coach," Miller said. "Anything less than full support of the head coach in my opinion is a breeding ground for mayhem. So as long as I have anything to say about it, the coach of the Utah Jazz will have my full support, and I speak for my entire family when I say that."

Rigby then announced that Jazz assistant coach Tyrone Corbin would take over as the team's head coach. ""Following the legacy of Jerry Sloan will be no easy task," Rigby said. "However, we're honored to announce today also that Tyrone Corbin will be the new head basketball coach of the Utah Jazz." 

The news was met with mild applause and Corbin appeared uncomfortable given the day's historic implications. "This is a bittersweet moment," Corbin said. "While it's a great opportunity for me, it's a bitter moment for me because I will miss these guys a lot ... I look forward to the opportunity but I don't think this time right now should be about me, it should be focused on these two guys, because they deserve it."

After the press conference wrapped, NBA commissioner David Stern issued a statement on Sloan's resignation. "Few people have epitomized all the positives of team sports more than Jerry Sloan," the statement read. "A basketball lifer, Jerry was as relentless in his will to win on the sidelines for the Utah Jazz as he was as an All-Star guard for the Chicago Bulls. In over two decades as a coach, he taught his players that nothing was more important than the team.  His most impressive qualities were his leadership and his extraordinary ability to encourage his players to subjugate their individual games for the benefit of the whole. Two trips to The Finals and over 1,200 regular-season victories more than validate his philosophy. Jerry moves on having established himself as one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history. I and the rest of the NBA family wish him great success and happiness as he moves to the next chapter of his life."

For more on Jerry Sloan's resignation...
Posted on: February 10, 2011 5:27 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 5:46 pm

Video: Jerry Sloan resigns as coach of Utah Jazz

Jerry Sloan resigned as head coach of the Utah Jazz on Thursday during a press conference at Zions Bank Basketball Center. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Jerry Sloan, long-time head coach of the Utah Jazz, announced his resignation on Thursday during a press conference at Zions Bank Basketball Center.

Sloan was introduced by Jazz president Randy Rigby, who stated that he had accepted Sloan's resignation. Sloan then delivered his thoughts, in a short statement, saying, "today is a new day, I get this over with, I know I'm going to feel much better. My time is up. It's time for me to move on."

"Today, the Utah Jazz has accepted the resignation of Jerry Sloan as head basketball coach and Phil Johnson as the first assistant," Rigby began. "Though two basketball legends step down today, their passion, character and work ethic will forever remain the foundation of this organization. Jerry, Phil, the greatest compliment that we can give is that you gave us your best. You made us a better team, a better organization and a better community. We express our love and appreciation to Jerry and Tammy, Phil and Ann. You will forever be a part of us." 

Sloan started his comments with an admission: "It's a little bit tougher than I thought it would be."

He continued: "I would like to say thanks to a lot of people. Number one, going back to when I first came here, Sam Battistone was the owner of the team, Frank Layden was the coach, and I'd like to thank them for bringing me in here, primarily because Phil Johnson recommended me for a job. And then the Miller family bought the Utah Jazz and then the Miller family bought the Utah Jazz. I worked with Frank and Frank stepped down. I always say this: I could still be Frank's assistant coach until today. 

"I've been fortunate to have terrific people to work with, my coaching staff, all the coaches that have worked with us, the fans and this organization have been second to none. We lose 56 games and we still have a tremendous crowd come watching our team. Players, had terrific players, fortunate to have great players to coach and have an opportunty to compete. I think I've been blessed being here for the number of years I've been here as a head coach. 

"I will say this: when I took the job as head coach, Kurt Kragthorpe came to me and said, 'good luck.' I said, all I asked is to be fair. The fans have been fair, the reporters have been fair, all the people who have been responsible for me being here have been more than fair and I thank you for that. 26 years to be in one organization and I've been blessed. 

"But today is a new day, I get this over with, I know I'm going to feel much better. My time is up. It's time for me to move on."

Sloan then concluded: "I'd like to thank the Miller family for sticking by me throughout my career as a coach."

Here's video of Rigby's introduction and Sloan's statement.

Category: NBA
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