Jerry Sloan resigns due to strained relationship with Deron Williams

Utah Jazz Head Coach Jerry Sloan has words for an official during play against the Golden State Warriors in the second half at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on January 30, 2011. The Warriors defeated the Jazz 96-81. UPI/Terry Schmitt

Per Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears…

Sloan’s relationship with point guard Deron Williams had grown progressively worse over the course of the season, league sources said, and the coach had tired of dealing with the team’s best player. The frustration escalated on Wednesday night when Sloan and Williams clashed in the locker room at halftime.

“He decided right there in halftime that he was done,” a league source told Yahoo! Sports. “He felt like ownership was listening more to Williams than they were to him anymore. He was done.”

One source said Sloan had become tired of Williams “blaming everything on everyone else.” Still, Williams, who can become a free agent in the summer of 2012, has remained the Jazz’s best and most consistent player after the departure of several key teammates. Williams has always had a reputation for wanting to win badly and being a strong leader.

This is a surprise. Sloan owns a career 1221-803 (.603) record and led the Jazz to 21 winning seasons in his 23-year tenure in Utah, including thirteen 50+ win seasons. Yes, he was fortunate to be able to coach John Stockton and Karl Malone for many of those years, but I would argue that without Sloan, that duo would not have been nearly as effective as they turned out to be. Sloan’s teams always play hard, as he has a knack for getting the most out of his roster.

It’s an absolute travesty that he never won the Coach of the Year award, though he was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a coach in 2009. It will be interesting to see if the 68-year-old decides to coach elsewhere or if he hangs ’em up for good.

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