SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Jerry Sloan has signed an extension to remain as coach of the Jazz, he told NBA.com on Monday, a completion of the formality that inks him to the Utah sideline through the end of the 2011-12 season.
It was a typical Sloan-Jazz deal in every way – without any announcement and certainly without fanfare, with another one-year addition on the contract, and with Sloan quick to remind that he could still walk away after this season or that he could be fired. The first may happen, per his now-annual tradition of waiting until summer to decide whether to return to the grind, but a dismissal will not.
“I’ve already signed a contract for next year,” he said after shootaround at Arco Arena in preparation for tonight’s game against the Kings. “That’s been since, maybe, around the first of the year. I don’t remember what the date was on it. I never pay any attention to it. They offered it to me and I signed it.”
And so what had been apparent since early in the regular season, when the sides reached an agreement in principle on the latest one-year extension, became official.
“I didn’t need an announcement,” Sloan said. “Hell, it’s not a big deal to me. And I don’t know what it does. Either one of us can go the opposite direction. I’ve been around long enough and they’ve been around long enough to know if they want to get rid of me, that’s all they have to do.”
Sloan has the longest active tenure for a head coach in any of the four major sports, at 23 seasons. There have been 245 changes in the NBA alone, including interim hires, since he succeeded Frank Layden on Dec. 9, 1988, and his 1,220-802 record makes Sloan the third-winningest coach in league history. He is 1,126-681 in Utah, the only coach in the NBA to ever have 1,000 wins with one team.
The Jazz are 30-22 in a 2010-11 season full of inconsistent play, good for seventh place in the Western Conference. But they are just four games out of the division lead when winning the Northwest would mean homecourt advantage at least in the first round of the playoffs, an especially important consideration for a team that plays to such loud crowds in Salt Lake City.
Sloan turns 69 on March 28.