Posts Tagged ‘Brian T. Smith’

Jazz’s O’Connor Steps Up, Not Quite Out

If Kevin O’Connor were giving up his general manager position with the Utah Jazz to accept a similar gig with some rival NBA franchise, to star in his own syndicated cooking show or simply to comb a beach for shells in an endless retirement, that front-office move in Salt Lake City truly would merit “Stop the presses! Extra, extra!” type of coverage. (OK, so few news outlets these days actually own presses and, of those who do, few would spend the cash to print an extra edition when they can simply update their Web site. But you get the point, you’ve seen the old B&W movies.)

As it turns out, this might not even be a dog-bites-man yawner. O’Connor indeed is giving up the GM job in Utah, as reported by Yahoo! Sports, the Salt Lake Tribune and others. But he is sticking around in an executive capacity that presumably will keep him involved with the Jazz’s big basketball decisions.

That’s quite different, more a lightening of O’Connor’s workload than an end to some era or a significant change in direction for the Jazz.

David Locke, the Jazz’s radio broadcaster, went so far as to suggest on Twitter that O’Connor, if looking outside the organization for someone to handle the day-to-day drudge work in his job, almost necessarily had to alter his own title. Few teams would allow their assistant GMs under contract to interview for a lateral move.

Even if it’s strictly a flow-chart thing, the usual suspects began to get mentioned as possible hires, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! wrote:

San Antonio Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey has emerged as a strong candidate in the search, league sources told Y! Sports. Cleveland Cavaliers assistant GM David Griffin had talked to Utah, but is no longer under consideration, sources said.

Oklahoma City Thunder vice president and assistant GM Troy Weaver had been the No. 1 target for the search, but has decided to stay in Oklahoma City, sources said. The Philadelphia 76ers have shown strong interest in Weaver, but league sources said he’s made clear he plans to stay with the Thunder. Weaver previously worked under O’Connor in the Jazz front office before leaving for Oklahoma City.

Walt Perrin, Utah’s vice president of player personnel, was mentioned by Jazz beat guy Brian T. Smith as a potential internal candidate.

Where’s The Beef (Cousins Vs Harris)?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — As far as NBA beefs go, this new DeMarcus CousinsDevin Harris feud is still searching for space among some of the legendary on-court battles of yesteryear.

Kurt Rambis vs. Kevin McHale, Karl Malone vs. Isiah Thomas or Bill Laimbeer vs. half the league, this is not.

But in an era where it seems players around the league are as friendly as they have ever been, this is a budding beef worth taking note of, if for no other reason that both parties have acknowledged the discord.

If you don’t believe it, Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune tries to explain:

Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins and Jazz guard Devin Harris were involved in a tense moment early during the Utah’s 103-102 victory on Thursday. Cousins attempted to save a loose ball and felt that Harris blocked his path. Cousins immediately got in Harris’ face, who stood his ground and coldly stared at the Kings forward. Cousins quickly became heated while Harris kept staring — never backing down and barely moving. The two were soon separated.

Cousins on Harris (video included): Yo, honestly I’m tired of the kid. And I mean, like really, I don’t know what his issue is. I’m tired of the kid, honestly. I’m tired of him. I don’t know what his issue is, but I can definitely solve it.

Harris on Cousins: It goes back to the last game. … He’s trying to get in my head and I’m trying to get in his. I can’t let anybody push me around.

The feud dates back to Feb. 28, when the Jazz fell 103-96 at Sacramento. Cousins was called for a technical foul in the game, after bumping into Harris during an inbounds play.


Malone, Miller And The War Of Words

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Hall of Famer Karl Malone is still making headlines in Utah, but for all the wrong reasons these days. The Jazz legend is in the middle of a fierce war of words with current Jazz owner Greg Miller, son of the late Larry Miller, over the handling of Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan‘s departure as coach last season.

Last week Malone blasted the organization for not supporting Sloan and allowing then Jazz star Deron Williams to essentially force Sloan out as coach, while also telling the The Salt Lake Tribune that he had to buy a ticket from a scalper to get into a recent game.

Miller fired back in a blog post and on radio calling Malone a “liar” and high-maintenance.”

Sloan cleared the air a bit this afternoon in a statement:

“I would like to set the record straight regarding my retirement from the Utah Jazz. I had the unwavering support of the Miller family during my 23 seasons as head coach and I left on my own volition. It is not true that the Millers undermined my authority as head coach. I had their complete backing to run the team as I wished and was assured that no player could ever overrule my decisions.

“The Millers encouraged me to stay with the team and gave me multiple opportunities to do so. They felt strongly that I should wait at least until the end of the season to resign and did everything they could to keep me coaching.”