A batch of notes regarding the league's never ending coach's carousel.
The Jazz aren't one of the NBA teams still searching for a head coach, but they have talked to former coach Jerry Sloan about a potential return to the organization, reports Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. According to Genessy, the Jazz and Sloan have had preliminary discussions about the 71-year-old joining the team in an unspecified role, to help the franchise and coach Tyrone Corbin.
"That's up to (them)," Sloan said. "That's a situation that's strictly up to Ty or somebody in the Jazz organization. If they want me around, fine. If they don't, (fine). They'd talked to me a little bit about it a little bit earlier."
Sloan has been linked to a number of head coaching openings during the last couple summers, but it appears he has yet to find an ideal fit. The longtime Utah head coach joined the team's contingent at the NBA's Chicago predraft combine last month, at which point team president Randy Rigby indicated the Jazz would welcome Sloan back in a consulting role.
According to Genessy, Sloan is open to returning to the organization in some way, though it's not clear if he is interested in acting as a consultant, a coach, or an executive. Sloan stressed that he wouldn't want to be a distraction for Corbin and the rest of the coaching staff.
The Jazz have already reunited with one franchise icon this offseason, having brought Karl Malone aboard to work with the club's big men.
Although there are still a handful of NBA head coaching jobs available, the openings in Brooklyn and Los Angeles stand out, based on the regular-season success the Nets and Clippers had this past season. Neither team appears to have made significant progress in its search so far, but that could change soon. Here's the latest on the Nets' and Clippers' respective searches:
A source tells Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group that first- and second-round draft picks will likely be available around the time of the draft in exchange for little more than cash. I'd be surprised if any team gave up a first-rounder for such paltry return, however, even considering the purported weakness of this year's crop of prospects. No first-round picks changed hands at the trade deadline, when teams were reluctant to give them up. The Warriors don't have a pick in this year's draft and co-owner Joe Lacob has shown the willingness to spend to acquire a selection in the past, as Kawakami points out, so perhaps they'll net a second-rounder this year.
There's more on the Warriors and their Western Conference rivals, as we detail here:
Although he played well in this year's NCAA tournament, Vander Blue was one of the more surprising names on 2013's early entrant list, considering he's widely viewed as a second-round pick at best. But Blue told reporters at this week's draft combine in Chicago that he's confident in his decision, and expects to surprise anyone who doesn't think he'll produce in the NBA.
"Nobody expected [former Marquette teammate] Jimmy [Butler] to be who he is today with the Bulls," said Blue, according to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times. "Nobody probably expects me to do any good in the NBA. But I know how to go about my business. I’m more than confident."
After discussing Blue's decision to declare for the draft and passing along a few of his quotes, Woelfel's latest column explores a few other topics of note. Here are the highlights:
According to TNT's David Aldridge, Hall of Famer and former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan decided that he wasn't interested in the Bucks' head coaching vacancy. We made note that Sloan met with Milwaukee on Monday and that he had garnered "serious consideration." This likely won't mean the end of his name being generated on the rumor mill in the near future, as we heard last week that the 71-year-old coach had been fielding exploratory talks with other teams as well.
Sloan's 26-year NBA coaching career includes three seasons in Chicago and 23 in Utah. Should he find himself back next season at the helm of an NBA bench, the native Illinoisan would become the longest tenured active coach in the NBA. The Nuggets' George Karl is currently the most seasoned active coach in the league, having just finished his 25th season this year.
The Bucks aren't wasting any time exploring their head coaching options, having already interviewed Kelvin Sampson, Nate McMillan, J.B. Bickerstaff, and Steve Clifford. According to Sam Amick of USA Today, Milwaukee also has a higher-profile name on its radar. Amick reports that the Bucks have met with Jerry Sloan, who is being "seriously considered" by the team.
Milwaukee has reportedly been seeking a coach who will command respect in the team's locker room, following a postseason incident between Larry Sanders and Monta Ellis. As Amick notes, the Bucks' position is somewhat similar to the position Sloan held in Utah for more than two decades.
Sloan revealed last week that he had been contacted by a couple NBA teams, though he characterized the talks as "exploratory" rather than anything serious, and said no offers had been made. He also shot down rumors of a potential reunion with Deron Williams, confirming that he hadn't been in touch with the Nets at all.
Two nights after the Bulls shocked the Heat in Miami and the Spurs outlasted the Warriors in a double-OT thriller, all four teams are back in action tonight. As we look forward to an encore of Monday's incredible doubleheader, let's check out a few odds and ends from around the NBA:
TUESDAY, 10:51pm: A source tells ESPN that Jackson is still open to coaching if he has a say on the roster, tweets ESPN L.A.'s Ramona Shelburne. Shelburne says that the legendary coach would prefer a front office gig, but would be willing to coach if he had power within the franchise. Jackson is a in "listen mode," not "look mode," Shelburne tweets, adding that it would have to be a perfect fit, a la Pat Riley in Miami (Twitter links here).
5:18pm: Jackson is not interested in a return to coaching and therefore will not become the next coach of the Nets, reports Tim Bontemps of the New York post, citing a league source. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski confirms the Post report, also tweeting that Jackson's inclination remains to make his NBA return in a "broader management role."
MONDAY, 8:30pm: The Nets have contacted Phil Jackson about the possibility of becoming their next coach, a source told Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. After Jackson, the source says the list of current Nets' candidates consists of Larry Brown and Brian Shaw.
Nate McMillan, Jeff Van Gundy, and Stan Van Gundy aren't on the list, the source said, but that could change if the Nets strike out on their aforementioned top three choices. Celtics coach Doc Rivers would interest the Nets though if the Celtics agree to let him out of his current contract, the source said.
Jerry Sloan is a long-shot candidate for the gig, even though Deron Williams recently endorsed him. Nets GM Billy King understands that Jackson is not likely to come to Brooklyn to coach, but he is open to bringing Jackson into the front-office, according to the source. Jackson would perhaps join the Nets as the team's president while also getting a slice of stake in the club's ownership.
Shaw would be a likely coaching candidate if Jackson joined the Nets front office thanks to the prior ties between the two.
There are plenty of names being thrown into the mix for the Nets' head coaching opening and seemingly just as many being taken out of the equation. Sam Amick of USA Today is the latest to chime in on the subject, reporting that Scott Skiles is among Brooklyn's candidates, but that the chatter about a Jerry Sloan/Deron Williams reunion probably shouldn't be taken seriously. Here are a few more Tuesday odds and ends from around the NBA: