Posts Tagged ‘Greg Miller’

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.”

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Sloan Denies Jazz Forced Him Out

Former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan on Saturday denied an assertion from his former player and fellow Hall of Famer Karl Malone that Sloan was forced out last year as Utah’s head coach by the Miller family, the primary owners of the team.

“I would like to set the record straight regarding my retirement from the Utah Jazz,” Sloan said in a statement released Saturday. “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.

Malone had told the Salt Lake Tribune last week that he thought Jazz owner Greg Miller and general manager Kevin O’Connor had undermined Sloan’s authority with the team up to the point when he resigned last February. At the time, Sloan denied that the reason he left was a rift with star guard Deron Williams, who was subsequently traded to the Nets.

“On the whole handling of that, I would have to give [them] a D or F, and I would lean more toward an F,” Malone told the paper.

Sloan said he did not want to make any further statements regarding the details of his departure from the Jazz.

“It is time for me and my family to move on and I ask that the media respect my wishes and respect the integrity of the Miller family and all that they have done for the Utah Jazz and this community,” he said in the statement.

The Sunday Read: Nothing New

The Sunday Read is a look at the best Sunday columns around the NBA.

It’s clear that the trades that sent Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams to New York and New Jersey this week were influenced by “The Decision.”

Not only did Anthony (and perhaps Williams) want to team up with at least one more star, but the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz didn’t want to end up like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, who wound up with nothing but a couple of late draft picks when their stars left town.

There are those that believe that the development of these “super teams” is a bad thing. But Harvey Araton of The New York Times writes that it’s nothing new, and nothing to be worried about…

Contrary to growing sentiment, the recent migration of players to large N.B.A. markets to form cabals of superstar power is no more likely to wreck professional basketball than it is to ensure multiple championships for the teams that LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony decided to take their talents to.

Nor is this so-called trend that much of a “relatively recent phenomenon,” as Greg Miller, Utah’s chief executive, described it after the Jazz, unwilling to go down the path of free-agent peril as Cleveland did with James, proactively dealt the elite point guard Deron Williams to the Nets.

“I can only speak from the Jazz ownership perspective in saying that I’m not interested in seeing a congregation of star players on a handful of teams throughout the league,” Miller told reporters. “I don’t think it does the teams any good. It doesn’t do the fans any good. It doesn’t do the sponsors any good.”

But the concept actually did the league a world of good during the 1980s when Larry Bird‘s Celtics and Magic Johnson‘s Lakers had star-studded rosters that helped launch the sport into the global marketplace that eventually became Michael Jordan‘s celestial airspace.

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

Trade shocks former D-Will teammates

DALLAS – This isn’t supposed to happen to the Utah Jazz.

In the span of 13 days, the league’s model of stability for two decades parted ways with Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan and All-Star point guard Deron Williams. Just like that, a team that looked every part a serious contender earlier this season — remember that November road sweep through Florida? — is possibly rebuilding.

Karl Malone and John Stockton are rolling over in their graves.

“I haven’t even gotten over Coach Sloan,” Jazz center Al Jefferson said, “so when they hit me with [the Williams trade], it was just like ‘wow,’ I was super surprised.”

Paul Millsap said the team was as caught off guard as the rest of the league was when the trade with New Jersey went down. The Jazz get back point guard Devin Harris, rookie lottery pick Derrick Favors and two first-round picks.

“It’s been crazy, a little weird,” Millsap admitted. “A lot of stuff we didn’t really expect to happen, it happened. Everybody was surprised by that. You never know what can happen in this league.”

That the Jazz rolled D-Will, one of the constants in the “best point guard in the league” debate, so quickly after many speculated he helped run Sloan out of town is noteworthy in itself. It didn’t help that Williams was critical of many of Utah’s cost-cutting moves of the last few years, so many speculated the front office was just getting rid of a locker room headache.

But closer to the truth is the economic realities of the day, namely making sure you don’t lose your best player for a bag of chips. Cleveland and Toronto didn’t learn that lesson in time. Denver did. And now Utah has lobbed the most extreme preemptive strike to date by trading away its face of the franchise more than a year before he potentially hits free agency.

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Utah owner: No hard feelings, D-Will

In the end, Greg Miller said Wednesday, he went with his gut.

The owner of the Utah Jazz said in a telephone interview that he decided to OK the trade of All-Star guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets because of his increasing belief that the Jazz could be caught empty-handed in the summer of 2012 if Williams decided not to re-sign in Utah, as other teams have found themselves in the past year.

“The concern that we as a franchise have had all along is if you look at what happened with LeBron James in Cleveland, and Amar’e Stoudemire in Phoenix, and Chris Bosh in Toronto, there seems to be a trend developing where those marquee players get away,” Miller said. “In the case of those three teams there was very little at the end to show for it. I was very concerned that the same thing would happen to us if Deron left.”

Utah traded Williams on Wednesday to the Nets for rookie forward Derrick Favors and point guard Devin Harris, and two first-round picks. One of the picks is New Jersey’s unprotected first-rounder next year; the other is a 2012 first-round pick originally acquired from the Golden State Warriors. The pick is protected through the first six picks of the Draft in 2012 and 2013, and through the top seven picks in 2014. That means that the pick will go to Utah if the Warriors do not finish with one of the six worst records in the league in 2012 or 2013, or one of the seven worst in 2014. If none of those scenarios occurs the first-round pick turns into second-round picks in 2014 and 2016.

Miller said he and general manager Kevin O’Connor had conversations over the past few months both with Williams and his representatives, and that Williams was non-committal about his future every time. He didn’t say he was definitely leaving, but he didn’t say he was definitely staying, either. And the Jazz were increasingly worried that Williams would walk.

“At the end of the day, I never heard him say he was going to stay or go,” Miller said. “Just going with my gut, I just felt like he would likely be moving on. The opportunity to make this trade caught us by surprise when NJ called (Tuesday) and asked if we’d be interested in doing the deal. Kevin called me yesterday afternoon … we decided this would be a great opporunity for the Utah Jazz to preserve the value of Deron Williams by trading for these four, essentially, first round picks, and control our destiny, which I wasn’t sure we would be able to do with Deron.”

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