Jerry Sloan, an NBA fixture on the sideline for more than 2 decades, abruptly stepped down as coach of the Utah Jazz last night after the Jazz lost to the Bulls on Wednesday night. Sloan just signed a year extension with the team in the past week.
Apparently the driving reason for his departure was the tension between he and the Jazz’s star player, Deron Williams.
Two sources say Wednesday’s tension started when DWill ran different play than the play called on sideline by Sloan, leading to halftime blowup. “He felt like ownership was listening more to Williams than they were to him anymore. He was done.”
Deron is a free agent in 2012. It would be tragic if he pushed the legendary coach out the door and then didn’t resign in Utah. I’ve never been a Jazz fan but that team has been consistent in it’s playoff appearances only missing in ’04, ’05 and ’06 plus two finals appearances in ’97 and ’98 under Sloan’s tenure.
Although this season it’s obvious the inclusion of Al Jefferson wasn’t working well within their offensive scheme, the team is 31-23 and currently sits as the 6th seed in the west.
Longtime assistant coach Phil Johnson is stepping down also.