Jerry Sloan

Former Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan Passes Away

Former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has passed away due to complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, the team announced today in a press release. Sloan was 78 years old.

“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz,” the club said in a statement. “He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.”

After a two-and-a-half-year stint coaching the Bulls from 1979-82, Sloan took over as Utah’s head coach during the 1988/89 season. He remained in that role for 23 years, compiling a 1,127-682 (.623) regular season record with the franchise during that time. He also won 96 postseason contests with the Jazz, leading the club to two NBA Finals appearances against Michael Jordan‘s Bulls in 1997 and 1998.

Sloan’s 1,221 wins as an NBA head coach place him fourth in league history, behind only Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens, and Gregg Popovich. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Prior to becoming an NBA coach, Sloan was a standout player, having been drafted fourth overall by the Baltimore Bullets in 1965. He spent most of his playing career in Chicago, earning a pair of All-Star berths and six All-Defensive nods for the Bulls.

We at Hoops Rumors send our condolences to Sloan’s family and friends.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Warriors, Knicks, Jazz

Now that Stan Van Gundy has reached an agreement with the Pistons, the Warriors are again in pursuit of Steve Kerr for their head coaching job, writes Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group. Although plenty of signs point to Kerr being the favorite to land with the Knicks, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News alludes to reports that New York remains steadfast in offering a four-year deal, rather than the five-year agreement that Kerr’s representatives are looking for. Keeping in mind that Golden State had been reportedly willing to offer Van Gundy a five-year deal, the Warriors’ latest pursuit may be enough to cause the Knicks to eventually meet Kerr’s asking price.

Here’s more out of the NBA’s coaching carousel tonight:

  • Sources have told Isola that Kerr is concerned that the team has cycled through seven head coaches and GMs since Dolan took control of the franchise; those reservations likely have upset the Madison Square Garden chairman,
  • Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey tells Jody Genessy of the Deseret News that the front office is getting closer to beginning their interview process for a new head coach but declined to elaborate on any specific names linked to the job: “I’m optimistic and I think there’s a good talent pool of coaches available…Because we don’t know right now, there’s no one else that really knows. All the speculation is very premature…We’re getting closer to moving to the part where we’ll reach out.” 
  • Expect the Timberwolves’ coaching search to wait until next week’s lottery, where landing in the top three could be enough to change Kevin Love‘s feelings about the team’s future as well as the team’s coaching prospects, opines Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune..
  • When asked if the Warriors considered Jerry Sloan for their head coaching job, Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group reminded that team co-owner Joe Lacob is targeting someone relatively young (Twitter link). Sloan turned 72 this past March.
  • No one has requested permission to speak with Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry about head coaching openings, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. According to Spears, Doc Rivers isn’t opposed to his assistants participating in interviews during the playoffs.
  • There are some notable complications that will arise should the Lakers attempt to dangle trade assets in their pursuit of Tom Thibodeau, details Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders.

Warriors, Knicks, Steve Kerr Rumors: Friday

We put together a lengthy post Thursday on the latest about the Warriors and Knicks coaching situations, both of which seem tethered to Steve Kerr at this point. We’ll keep track of today’s updates below:

  • The Warriors appear to have interest in Jerry Sloan and Heat assistant David Fizdale, according to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, who adds that Kerr and Stan Van Gundy remain the team’s primary targets. Sloan and Fizdale are the newest names on the list of coaches the Warriors are reportedly eyeing, one that already included Kerr, Van Gundy, George KarlMike D’Antoni, Nate McMillan, Kevin Ollie, Alvin Gentry, Fred Hoiberg, Tom Thibodeau and Lionel Hollins.
  • Marc Berman of the New York Post is the latest to report that Kerr is leaning toward taking the Knicks job. Still, the former Suns GM intends to complete his TNT broadcast commitments, which run through the Western Conference Finals, regardless of whether he takes a coaching position in the meantime, a source tells Berman.
  • It looks like Kerr is seeking a five-year deal with money similar to that of the four-year, $24MM contract that the Knicks gave Mike D’Antoni in 2008, Berman reports, suggesting that it’s possible the fifth year would be a team option.
  • Kerr is concerned that he hasn’t seen a formal offer from the Knicks yet after expecting one would come by Wednesday, Berman also reports, adding that the Knicks will likely make their offer today.
  • The Knicks and Warriors were scheduled to talk to Kerr on Thursday, Berman adds.

Western Notes: Sloan, Phil, Nash

During Friday night’s game against Golden State, the Jazz will honor former head coach Jerry Sloan by raising a banner with the number “1223” embroidered on it, which denotes the total number of wins (regular season and playoffs) he helped deliver to Utah over his coaching career. Kurt Kragthorpe of The Salt Lake Tribune caught up with former Jazz and current Nets guard Deron Williams to get his current thoughts on Sloan:

“A big part of my success early in my career was due to him and the things he kind of instilled in me…So I’m definitely happy for him, and it’s going to be a special moment. The fans there just love him to death.” Williams also elaborated on the halftime argument with Sloan several years ago which reportedly triggered the former coach’s resignation:

“We got into a little argument — nothing more than we’ve ever done…So the way the fans perceive it is just one thing I can’t really control. Like I said, there’s no hard feelings on my end, and I enjoyed playing for him. I miss playing for him.”

Here’s more out of the Western Conference tonight:

  • During an appearance on NBA TV, former Lakers coach Phil Jackson said that while he agreed with the decision to give Kobe Bryant a two-year extension, he also thinks the team “paid him more than I would have gone for” (Bill Oram of the OC Register via Twitter).
  • Oram also wrote about Steve Nash‘s return to practice today, noting that the former MVP is eight days away from celebrating his 40th birthday. Nash hasn’t had much to celebrate about since arriving in Los Angeles, and was candid about his frustration with injuries: “This is the toughest thing I’ve been through in my career…I came to L.A. with nothing but the highest hopes and expectations, and it’s been nothing but personal disappointment.” 
  • Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles has more from Nash: “Ever since I broke my leg, nothing’s been the same. Nothing’s been easy. But I also look for challenges in life, so this is a great opportunity for me to learn about myself and try to fight through it and hopefully on the other side, I’ll be a better person.”
  • Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune discussed his thoughts on the Timberwolves’ struggles: “At times they have no energy whatsoever…They need a great point guard, and (Ricky Rubio) is not a great point guard.” Rubio is averaging 8.5 PPG, 8.2 APG, 4.6 RPG, and 2.6 SPG on the season, but Hartman appeared to imply that Rubio’s struggle to score points in the fourth quarter is a glaring weakness.
  • Grizzlies guard Mike Conley may not have been selected to the All-Star team this year, but opposing coaches know his value, writes Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal (Subscribers only).
  • Bill Ingram of Basketball Insiders presents his list of this year’s All-Star snubs from the Western Conference.

Western Notes: Mavericks, Clippers, Oberto

We've already mentioned the "draft and stash" philosophy earlier in the night, and that's what Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News thinks the Mavericks might do if they don't trade their 13th pick in this year's draft. He says they're eyeing German point guard Dennis Schroeder if they choose to keep the pick, which has been considered unlikely as they go for broke at another title with Dirk Nowitzki not getting any younger.

Nowitzki would help fellow German Schroeder mesh with the team, and the Mavs are looking for point guard help after Darren Collison failed to inspire a lot of confidence last season when the team missed the playoffs for the first time since the 1999/00 campaign. Schroeder can also be stashed if the Mavs don't feel he's ready to come in and play heavy minutes in the rotation.

Here's what else is happening around the Western Conference on the first Saturday night since the 2012/13 NBA season concluded. 

Western Notes: Suns, Mavericks, Jazz

A well-deserved congratulations to the Heat for winning the NBA Championship as well as the Spurs for putting up a hard fought series. As we wrap up one of the more memorable Finals matchups in recent history, here are some of tonight's news and notes out of the Western Conference:

  • Paul Coro of AZ Central says that Suns GM Ryan McDonough could use one of his three draft picks on an international player under contract and keep him overseas for more seasoning before bringing him over. Coro adds that if Phoenix doesn't select a center with their fifth overall pick, it could certainly be a targeted position with their 30th. 
  • Given their draft history, Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW thinks that the Mavericks will either trade this year's pick or draft an international player with the intent of keeping him overseas as to not take up any of this summer's salary cap space. If they do keep the pick, Sefko thinks that they'll look at either Michael Carter-Williams or Dennis Schroeder. In a separate piece, Sefko boldly predicts that the Mavs will wind up with Dwight Howard this offseason.
  • Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin is excited to have Jerry Sloan involved with the franchise again, writes Bill Oram of The Salt Lake Tribune
  • Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times thinks that the Clippers going after Doc Rivers at the expense of a first round pick is a no-brainer.

Jazz Hire Jerry Sloan As Senior Advisor

The Jazz announced on Wednesday evening that they have hired Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan in an official capacity as a Senior Basketball Advisor.  Sloan's role will entail player evaluation at workouts, summer league and camps, as well as limited pro and regional college scouting and occasional practice observation.  The news was initially revealed by Jazz CEO Greg Miller via Twitter.

In a statement, via the team's website, Sloan said, “In my new role with the Jazz franchise, I hope to help the basketball operations staff and [head coach Tyrone Corbin] in any way that I can to achieve their goals.  I would like to thank the Miller family for the opportunity to be part of the organization again.”

Coaching Notes: Gentry, Sloan, Jackson

A batch of notes regarding the league's never-ending coaching carousel:

  • Former Suns head coach Alvin Gentry will interview with the Grizzlies for the second time on Thursday for their open head coaching position, tweets Yahoo! NBA reporter Marc J. Spears.
  • Warriors head coach Mark Jackson is not expecting a contract extension to come this summer, despite the team's immense playoff success in his second year on the job, writes's Tim Kawakami. Jackson also said that with the departure of top assistant Mike Malone to become head coach of the Kings, last year's assistants Pete Myers and Darren Erman will simply move up the depth chart, and no hiring will take place to replace Malone.
  • According to Shams Charania from, Jerry Sloan will continue to consult with the Jazz in an unofficial capacity for the time being. Several of the coaching vacancies that opened up this summer intrigued Sloan, but none were good enough of a fit to bring him out of retirement.

Jazz Talked To Jerry Sloan About Return

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.

Coaching Rumors: Clippers, Shaw, Nets, Hollins

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:

  • The Clippers have reached out to Brian Shaw and Jeff Van Gundy, who are reportedly atop the team's wish list, and both men appear to have interest in the job, reports Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
  • According to Turner, Alvin Gentry has also been in touch with the Clippers and expressed interest in the job. Jerry Sloan's representatives called the Clips as well, but he has since "backed away" from pursuing the opening, says Turner.
  • All the Clippers' discussions so far have been preliminary, with no formal interviews set up yet, writes Turner.
  • Neither the Clippers or Nets seem to be making any headway with Lionel Hollins. Turner reports that L.A. has yet to speak to the Grizzlies coach, while Fred Kerber of the New York Post says Hollins isn't necessarily the odds-on favorite for Brooklyn.
  • The Nets aren't among the teams who have called the Pacers about Shaw, according to Kerber, who hears from a source that Brooklyn may be inclined to favor a candidate with previous head coaching experience. "I think they have high regard for [Shaw]," the source said. "But with that roster and owner, my gut says they would want an established guy."