Karl Malone speaks out about Jerry Sloan

From NBA.com:

Malone on why he thinks Jerry Sloan resigned: “I know Coach Sloan, and we can call it resigning, quitting, whatever you want to call it. The man I know never quit anything and (Jazz assistant coach) Phil Johnson never quit anything so it had to be something a lot worse than what anyone is saying because I know (Sloan). This guy wouldn’t quit anything. He’s challenged me in the huddle before and said, ‘I’ll fight you as long as I can see you.’ I said, ‘Well coach, it ain’t going to be long.’ But that’s Coach Sloan and that’s his attitude. For something like this to happen, it’s one of those things where you can have Dr. Naismith or anyone you want but the players have to buy into the system. For people to say that the game has passed Coach Sloan and he doesn’t have the fire and the passion, I say b.s. because I know this guy. Something happened but that’s for another story. We’ve lost a great ambassador and I’ll tell you like this, at some point in my life, I will carry his (coaching) tradition on. I will be more than honored to carry the tradition on. How about Phil Johnson saying, ‘You’re resigning? Well don’t leave me, I’m resigning too.’ That’s manning-up and having your back. We have to be very careful and with the things I’ve been hearing, and I don’t believe hearsay, we have to be very careful of when inmates start running the asylum. That’s what I’m going to leave it at and you know what I’m talking about.”

You can see the entire interview here.

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Bucher: Deron Williams had a problem with Utah’s preparation under Jerry Sloan [video]

ESPN’s Ric Bucher discusses why Jerry Sloan left and what role, if any, Deron Williams played in Sloan’s decision.

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.

2008 NBA Preview: #5 Utah Jazz

Offseason Movement: The Jazz exercised a couple of no-brainer contract options on Ronnie Brewer and Paul Millsap, and signed Deron Williams to a long-term deal. The other main acquisition was center Kosta Koufos via the draft.
Keep Your Eye On: Carlos Boozer
Boozer has another year on his deal, but it’s a player option, and considering he can make more on the open market, he’ll probably opt out. That doesn’t mean that he’s leaving Utah, but given Boozer’s history, the team is justifiably worried. Utah has a lot of money tied up in Andrei Kirilenko (three years, $49 million) and it would be much better spent on a new deal for Boozer. Complicating matters is Mehmet Okur, who can also opt out next summer. The good news is that the Jazz locked up Deron Williams, so that should encourage both Boozer and Okur to stay.
The Big Question: Is this group good enough to get over the hump?
Utah has a nice roster, but it’s unclear if the current core – Williams, Boozer, Okur, AK-47 – is good enough to get past the West’s elite. Can Williams and Boozer raise their respective games? Will another player (Brewer, Koufos) turn into a star?
Outlook: The Jazz are right on the cusp and they’ll always play hard for Jerry Sloan, so they’ll be in the thick of things come playoff time. That means that they’re likely to advance to the Western Conference Semis or Western Conference Finals and meet a roadblock like the Lakers, Hornets or Spurs. I’d like to see Jerry Sloan make another trip to the Finals, but the odds are against that happening this season.

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