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Tag:Kevin O'Connor
Posted on: March 30, 2011 9:16 am
Edited on: March 30, 2011 9:18 am
 

Should the Utah Jazz draft Jimmer Fredette?

The Utah Jazz have reportedly scouted BYU star Jimmer Fredette at least 10 times in person. Will they draft him? Posted by Ben Golliver. jimmer-fredette

Should the Utah Jazz draft BYU star Jimmer Fredette? Of course they should. 

He's a regional icon, he has a defined NBA skill in a draft without many players who fit that bill, he has accumulated a certain starpower that the new-look Jazz are badly lacking and he fits the Jazz culture to a T. With two lottery picks in this year's draft -- thanks to a midseason shake-up that sent franchise point guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets -- the Jazz are positioned better than anyone else to absorb any risk factor that might accompany a player like Fredette, who plays questionable defense and is a shoot-first, shoot-second type of college guard that can struggle adapting to the pro game.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Jazz are apparently interested in Fredette and have extensively scouted him.
Twenty-eight of the 30 league clubs requested credentials at the Marriott Center this year, and the Jazz were foremost among them. Their personnel, including Kevin O’Connor, have watched Fredette play in person between 10 and 20 times. At least 25 scouts were on hand when BYU played at San Diego State.
One team executive who requested anonymity because he’s not permitted to comment on prospects says Jimmer’s offense is a go, but his defense is a real concern.
The Jazz organization is in a place that it hasn't been for decades: searching for an identity. With long-time coach Jerry Sloan gone, with Williams gone, with new coach Tyrone Corbin still getting his sea legs and with a roster that suddenly looks mish-mashed, the Jazz are staring at a future filled with fourth place finishes in the Northwest Division. 

That reality means the Jazz either need to do something to win fans' hearts or win games. Jimmer can certainly handle the hearts in the short-term. Drafting a guy to buy rebuilding time isn't always the wisest decision, but here it makes a lot of sense.  
Posted on: February 11, 2011 1:54 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 3:44 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Trade Deadline Waters




Posted by Matt Moore 

In today's Friday 5 with KB: A favorite story from Jerry Sloan, the future of Utah, the choppy waters of this year's trade deadline, and when exactly are the Spurs going to hit double-digit losses?



1. So, yeah, Jerry's gone. Which kind of bums everyone out. Do you have a favorite Sloan story to share?

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: Everyone, including me, made fun of Sloan's Hall of Fame acceptance speech two years ago because he basically told his entire life story. But I was touched by how nonchalantly Sloan talked about having lasted only five days as the University of Evansville basketball coach in the late 1970s. The season after he stepped down, his replacement, coach Bobby Watson, and the entire team and support staff were killed in a plane crash. Sloan said it matter-of-factly, just like that, and without blinking got right back to his story. "I spent 2 1-2 years as assistant coach of the Bulls ...," etc. That was Jerry. I don't know why I will always remember that, but I will.


2. Speaking of the Jazz, is there any chance they are able to reassert the kind of stability they've had over the past three decades? Is the organization and environment built in such a way as to develop that kind of constancy? Or are we going to see the Jazz back in the mire of the pack, having to reinvent themselves multiple times in a decade?

KB: The biggest priority, obviously, is persuading Deron Williams to stay. If he leaves as a free agent in 2012, there's no way around it: the Jazz are in for a major rebuild. Before they're faced with that possibility, however, the first order of business is maintaining stability on the bench. By naming Tyrone Corbin to succeed Sloan without saddling him with an interim title is an important first step. GM Kevin O'Connor and Gail Miller, the widow of later owner Larry Miller, both made clear they are committed to Corbin for the long term. Those intentions obviously will have to be backed up at some point by a multi-year head coaching contract, but that will come in time. There's been one head coach in Salt Lake City for nearly a quarter century. The plan certainly isn't to go from that to massive turnover.


3. Lost in Ray Allen's epic three-pointer and Kobe's late game heroics Thursday night was this: Boston's lost their last two, and are 5-5 in their last ten. Has the time come for the Celtics to coast through the second half?

KB: I think their recent struggles are less about coasting and more about injuries. The return of Kendrick Perkins has been muted by the absence of Shaq, Jermaine O'Neal and even Semih Erden. Boston also is without Marquis Daniels, Delonte West and Nate Robinson. So it's time to begin wondering if the only thing that can hold the Celtics back -- health -- is starting to rear its ugly head.


4. Alright, Ken. When are the Spurs going to hit double digit losses?

KB: With Philly, Washington and New Jersey next up on the road, I'm going to go out on a limb and say not before the All-Star break. The Spurs haven't lost two straight since early January, so I'm going to say their 10th loss doesn't come until March 4 or 6, when they play Miami and the Lakers.


5. Instability in Utah, the Denver situation, Portland teetering on the brink, Charlotte looking at a need to dump salary, Houston desperate to make a deal. For a long time it looked like we weren't going to be seeing much in the way of trades this year. But are the storm clouds gathering for another busy deadline?

KB: The way I see it now, there will be more buyers than sellers. Several teams have contracts they'd like to dump (Philly with Andre Iguodala, Charlotte with Stephen Jackson, Cleveland with Antawn Jamison or Mo Williams, the Bucks with Corey Maggette or Drew Gooden), but who is going to take on those kind of obligations heading unto uncertain CBA territory? Also, the teams with the most cap space, Sacramento and Minnesota, are going to be less likely than in past years to take money into that space given that they don't know what the 2011-12 cap and rules will be. First-round picks also will be more expensive on the trade market because they represent cheap labor. Whereas in past years, teams would be willing to give up a first simply to get off a contract, this time they'll want something else in return -- such as a second-round pick. The teams that will be able to do something are those that have quality players on expiring contracts -- such as Indiana with Jeff Foster, Mike Dunleavy, and T.J. Ford; and Portland with Joel Przybilla and Andre Miller (whose 2011-12 salary is non-guaranteed).
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.
jerry-sloan-resigns

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."

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For more on Jerry Sloan's resignation...
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com