HANG TIME, TEXAS – Some things are just natural. Painters paint, writers write, singers sing, coaches coach.
Jerry Sloan is a coach.
So how much longer will be it before the 69-year-old Hall of Famer and former fixture with the Jazz is back on an NBA sideline?
According to Sam Amick of SI.com, maybe sooner than you think.
“I think if the right situation came along, whatever that is,” he said before pausing to ponder. “I don’t know what the right situation is. We’ll have to wait and see, I guess.”
He’ll be waiting for the phone to ring again at his home in Utah, where he became the NBA’s third-most winningest coach of all time (1,221-803) before abruptly stepping down last February. After 23 seasons, the job became too taxing for the longest tenured coach in league history.
Back when he first walked away from the Jazz, Sloan wasn’t mentally and physically ready to jump right back in and set up camp on another sideline. But anyone who has ever spent time around him could hardly see Sloan permanently adopting the lifestyle of the gentleman farmer back on his spread in McLeansboro, Ill.
“Before, I was just visiting with people [from teams], but they knew that I wasn’t ready to coach … back in the summer,” said Sloan, who returned to his house in Utah in recent months. “I didn’t know if anybody was going to call [after that]. Maybe they won’t. I don’t know what my reaction would be. I had some people call when they’d lost their coaches. I was honest with them.”
But the honest truth has changed since then. And considering energy has played such a significant part in Sloan’s decision-making, he’s sounding as if a return could be in the cards.
“My energy level has changed a great deal since I quit coaching,” said Sloan, who is an avid walker. “It’s changed a lot now. I’ve had time to work out. I feel better.
“I had a chance to relax, to do something that I haven’t had the time to do in 30 years. That’s rewarding. You have time to spend with the family and have Thanksgiving and things like that. I enjoyed all of that. But [returning to coaching] is a decision where, if somebody talked to me, I’d review the situation like anybody else and take it from there.”
It’s downright shocking that the Kings didn’t at least feel him out when they let Paul Westphal go last week. But it certainly won’t the last opportunity to open up this season.
Despite assurances from the front office, how much longer can the winless Wizards stand behind Flip Saunders? And just for fun, how fast might Deron Williams’ head hit the ceiling if somebody told him the Nets were just thinking about hiring Sloan as an answer to their 2-8 start?