Tag: Greg Miller

Karl Malone

Jazz owner, Karl Malone kiss and make up (figuratively)


Remember earlier this season when Jazz legend Karl Malone and Jazz owner Greg Miller were feuding over how the firing of Jerry Sloan went down and loyalty within the organization. Thing is the Sloan issue was a year old and Sloan himself had to tell them to shut up already.

Well, if all of that slipped your mind don’t worry about it.

Miller and Malone have buried the hatchet and moved on, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Miller and Malone exchanged smiles and warmly embraced Wednesday night in an EnergySolutions tunnel, minutes before the Jazz tipped off against the Phoenix Suns.

“Karl and I have got it worked out and everything’s good,” Miller said.

The reunion came not so coincidentally on the night David Stern was in Salt Lake City — he had asked that the two resolve their dispute as well. Malone and Miller had a 75-minute meeting back in February, and between whatever was said then and some time to cool down, everything seems good now. Or at least civil.

If marriage has taught me one thing, it’s to really pick your battles. This seemed a silly fight to have in the first place.

Nothing interim here, Jazz sign Tyrone Corbin to three-year deal

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When owner Greg Miller was speaking at the press conference following the resignation of Jerry Sloan, he was very clear — Tyrone Corbin was the new coach of the Jazz. Not interim coach. Just coach.

Now he has put his money where his mouth is, inking Corbin to a three-year deal. Terms of the deal were not released.

“I am confident that Tyrone is the right man to lead this team into the future.  He is someone with longstanding ties to the Jazz and this community, and who has embraced the core philosophies and ideals this organization holds true.  I feel that his character and leadership qualities will be true assets to the Jazz moving forward for many years to come,” Miller said in a released statement.

“Ty has 16 years of experience in this league as a player and has spent the last seven seasons working here as an assistant coach,” said Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor said in the same statement.  “He is ready for this job and we feel certain he will excel as a head coach just as he excelled as an assistant coach and as a player.”

The Jazz are a rebuilding team, it’s a very different thing than what Sloan coached for many years. They got some nice pieces in the D-Will trade, but they are rebuilding. We will see how Corbin is able to deal with that.

Jerry Sloan says no, he is not coming out of retirement

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You can almost picture Jerry Sloan taking this call from a reporter and in the middle of it yelling “you kids get off my lawn.”

The old school coach who walked away two weeks ago told Chris Tomasson of FanHouse he is not returning to the Utah Jazz now that Deron Williams has been traded away.

“No,” Sloan said in a phone interview with FanHouse on Wednesday. “That didn’t have anything to do with it. I left on my own terms.”

In a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Jazz General Manager Kevin O’Conner said no call had or would be placed to Sloan. He said the decision to trade Williams had nothing to do with Sloan’s departure. Owner Greg Miller hinted that the Jazz’s concern about being able to re-sign Williams, combined with concerns that a prolonged lockout next season could prevent them from trading Williams then, led them to make the trade now.

In his interview, Sloan otherwise sounded pretty much exactly what you expected him to sound like — a guy who had spent time with family and friends who got pulled back into the NBA rumor circuit for no real good reason on Wednesday. He answered the questions in his usual polite but clipped manner.

Sloan is also one coach you could always picture stepping into retirement easily and not looking back when it was time.

“It’s a different lifestyle,” said Sloan, who said he plans to keep his primary residence in Salt Lake City but will continue to make trips to his farm. “But I’m enjoying it.”

Jerry Sloan: “My time is up and I’d like to move on.”

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Friday night, for the first time since the Regan administration, Jerry Sloan is going to have a night off on the night of a Utah Jazz game. What is he going to do?

“I’ll be like a dizzy duck,” he said, a classically homespun like from Sloan at his exit press conference Thursday afternoon.

Thursday afternoon Jerry Sloan officially resigned as the head coach of the Utah Jazz, a job he has held since 1988 (and he was with the team as an assistant before that). Lead assistant Phil Johnson also stepped down. This was clearly an emotional time for the old-school coach known for being a hard ass.

“This is a little bit tougher than I thought it would be…” Sloan said. “The fans and this organization have been second to none.”

Sloan, 68, said he was stepping away and would not be taking a coaching job with another franchise.

When asked about his reasons Sloan came off as both forthright and protecting the locker room. Classic and classy, as one would expect of Sloan.

When asked about a confrontation with Deron Williams last night and any role that and other conflicts may have played, Sloan said he’s had confrontations with players since he started coaching and that was not the motivation for him to retire. Nor was it this team tuning him out, he said.

“I’ve never had a team that did everything I wanted it to on the court,” Sloan said. “That’s means the good teams and some of the teams that weren’t very good. I don’t think any coach bats 100 percent with his team day in and day out. And I don’t think it’s wrong for you wanting them to play that way. Sometimes that’s misleading I think with some players.”

Owner Greg Miller emphasized that this was Sloan’s decision alone, that no player or front office person was pushing him out.

“Up until about 10 minutes ago, we tried to talk Jerry and Phil out of leaving,” Miller said.

Being pushed out and Sloan deciding to walk away because he could read the writing on the wall and did not have the energy for another fight are two different things. When pressed as to why he retired midseason, Sloan continually came back to feeling like he just didn’t have the energy

“My time is up and I’d like to move on….” Sloan said, “I’ve always thought about when am I going to retire, how is that going to happen. There’s always a feeling that hits you, it seems to me, that’s a little bit similar to the one I had when I got fired. So, I had a feeling it was time for me to move on.”

At the same press conference, Ty Corbin was introduced as the new Jazz head coach. There is no interim attached to his title. But Corbin tried to deflect the moment.

“For me this is a bittersweet moment….” Corbin said. “I had no idea going into shootaround yesterday, the game last night and the shootaround today that Jerry and Phil would be leaving us.”

Praise has started to pour in from Sloan, including from NBA Commissioner David Stern.

“Few people have epitomized all the positives of team sports more than Jerry Sloan.  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.”

Trying to keep Deron Williams, Jazz jettison Jerry Sloan. It won’t work.

Utah Jazz v Atlanta Hawks

The Utah Jazz’s ownership didn’t want to lose its superstar, so it jettisoned its icon.

And that’s not going to work.

It’s not as simple as point guard Deron Williams wanted Jerry Sloan gone so the Utah Jazz kicked the old coach out the door to make him happy. It’s much messier than that and Sloan decided to retire because he saw the battle that was ahead. He may not have had the energy for one more fight. But that is the basic motivations here, according to multiple reports.

Wednesday night, at halftime of the Jazz’s loss to the Chicago Bulls, Sloan and Williams got into a heated argument as Williams chafed against the restraints of the flex offense, according to Yahoo. This was the latest in a long line of conflicts the two had over the years and things reportedly escalated this season when Williams had to run in the system without talents around him like Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Wes Mathews. Through his continued pushing, Sloan had lost the team, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

After Wednesday’s game the Sloan/Williams argument spilled into a discussion in the coach’s office including owner Greg Miller and GM Kevin O’Conner.

It was there that Sloan realized a lesson that all NBA coaches know but Sloan seemed to be above — star players have the real power.

It felt like it was coming down to Williams or Sloan having to go, and Williams was going to win. So Sloan decided to walk away with his dignity intact.

There are only a handful of great talents and if those players want changes in an organization — or to have the run of it the way LeBron James did in Cleveland — they often get their way. This is nothing new, Magic Johnson got Paul Westhead fired two decades ago. The supply of game-changing players is smaller than the supply of coaches — and those players generate a lot more money for the organization. So guess who wins those clashes?

Utah had seemed different. Sloan had been the head coach for 23 years and if the late Larry Miller, father of current owner Greg, were still alive this might have come out differently. But maybe not, because the Jazz have one larger concern out there:

Williams can become a free agent in the summer of 2012. He can opt out after next season.

That is what Jazz management feared more than anything. More than losing Sloan. Williams is the face of the franchise, the guy that sells the tickets and the jerseys, the reason this team is 31-23 and not 23-31 (or worse). He is one of the game’s elite point guards.

Utah can’t afford to lose him, so they started doing what they thought would make Williams happy. That led Jerry Sloan to decide he needed to walk away.

Now the offense will change (not totally this season, it’s hard to make drastic shifts midseason). Williams will get the freedom on the court he craves and a coach that will tailor things more to him.

And it will not work. Williams will still leave. Former Jazz beat writer Ross Siler understands the logic and explained why on twitter.

Deron’s gone. There’s a zero percent chance he stays in Utah if his legacy is Jerry’s departure.

He does not want to be the guy that pushed Sloan out of the franchise, whether it is true or not, fair or not. Sloan an icon and in Utah he is adored. Plus, a dramatic shift in system will necessitate new players, more time to mesh and become a unit. The Jazz will win less, not more — say what you want about Sloan’s system, he got the most out of his players.

It may be destined for failure, but the Jazz learned from the LeBron James situation, where the team fired coach Mike Brown after the season. Utah wanted to be more proactive in making changes for their superstar. But this all makes them look a little desperate and a little unstable. Two things that will not keep Williams in house.

Two things Jerry Sloan never was.