Jerry Sloan wants to put the whole thing behind him. But the circumstances surrounding his departure from the Utah Jazz keeps coming up, as it did when Karl Malone did a lengthy interview with the Salt Lake City Tribune about it. Today Sloan responded with a public statement, which is pretty much the public relations version of “Get off my lawn.”
“I would like to set the record straight regarding my retirement from the Utah Jazz,” he said. “I had the unwavering support of the Miller family during my 23 seasons as head coach with the franchise and I left on my own volition. It is not true that the Millers undermined my authority as head coach. I had their complete backing to run the team as I wished and was assured that no player could ever overrule my decisions.
“The Millers encouraged me to stay with the team and gave me multiple opportunities to do so. They felt strongly that I should wait at least until the end of the season to resign and did everything they could to keep me coaching.
“I do not wish to make any further statements regarding this issue. It is time for me and my family to move on and I ask that the media respect my wishes and respect the integrity of the Miller family and all that they have done for the Utah Jazz and this community.”
This the NBA, where what is said is seldom what happened but often all we have to go on. But in this instance, there’s simply no reason to pursue it. Sloan could have returned to the Jazz, changed his mind, anything. Deron Williams is gone. There’s new ownership. Nothing is the same as it was last year. That era in Jazz basketball is over. If Karl Malone and Greg Miller have issues, that’s one thing.
But Jerry Sloan has earned the right to move on with his life, be it coaching somewhere else or enjoying whatever it is he does in his retirement. Fishing? Yelling at children? Pan flute?
Sometimes the drama isn’t worth it. Let Sloan be.