It Wasn't Just Sloan Who Quit
I've seen it forwarded by a few that Sloan quit because he was 70 years old (actually 68) with the implication that he was just tired in the middle of the season and called it quits. Unfortunately that isn't the case, for it wasn't just Sloan who quit. It was Sloan and his longtime assistant who was in line to succeed him, and by more than one report the main reason was Deron himself:
Tired act • Sloan and longtime assistant Phil Johnson turned in their resignations Feb. 11 for a variety of reasons. A primary one: They were tired of Williams’ act.
Brian T. Smith source
The article suggests that at least some teammates felt that Deron was lacking in leadership, something that Deron felt that was more an issue with his wrist. He was in fact surprised that some players felt he wasn't being a leader:
Williams was shocked and saddened when he was unexpectedly traded Wednesday. He recoiled again when informed that some teammates complained about his leadership.
“Man, that would surprise me a lot, because I definitely took blame,” Williams said. “I didn’t think I was playing well, and I hadn’t been able to do the things that I’m capable of because of my wrist [injury], and I think the guys knew that. If that’s how they felt, that’s how they felt.”
Clearly Williams was frustrated with the organization, the loss of players he liked playing with, but he also was (apparently) so disrespectful to Sloan that the venerable head coach and his assistant quit.
Sloan has been tight-lipped about Dwill's role in his sudden retirement, refusing to finger him but not exonerating him either.
Sloan said he didn't "have any reaction'' to Williams being traded. He was asked if it might be unfair that Williams will get a rap about Sloan's exit due to his departure coming 13 days after Sloan left.
"That's not for me to say,'' Sloan said. "You guys are the ones who write the articles.''
It was Woj who tweeted that there was a halftime argument that threatened to become physical
Showdown between Sloan and Williams became so heated Wednesday, at least two Jazz players feared they could come to blows. Never escalated.
Clearly the halftime blow up was not the only event that got two lifelong basketball men to abruptly quit their livelihood, there must have been a history of this bubbling up. It was only the straw that broke the camel's back.
This bleacher report traces the problems with his new teammates to the season's start:
Who can forget his early season antics when he threw a hard baseball pass at Gordon Hayward's head from ten feet away, simply because the rookie didn't go where D-Will wanted him to go. He followed that up by yelling at Hayward as the two walked off the floor. It certainly was a sign that D-Will's frustrations were deepening. His lack of leadership in that situation was shocking, and don't think Jazz fans didn't take notice. Later during this season, D-Will began to whine in the press about how this group of players didn't know the Jazz offense as well as players from years before. He began to openly reminisce about years past, and how things were much better with his past Jazz teammates. What positive did D-Will think would come out of openly dissing his current teammates?Why didn't he instead help mentor and teach these new guys the offense? It may be true that this new group of guys isn't as efficient at running the offense, but why whine about it in the press?
It was the famous game against Chicago and former Utah players that proved pivotal, where Deron flat out stopped listening, tossing the game away:
It was a game in which D-Will defiantly called his own plays, and carelessly turned the ball over on the final three plays of the game.
And while Jazz fans scratched there heads in amazement, they watched a seemingly unaffected D-Will exchange a hug with Boozer before he walked off the floor.
For long-time Jazz fans it seemed surreal, even the Jazz's opponent had three former Jazz players sticking it to them, a sign that the game was no longer about player loyalty and dependability, but rather, where players could chase the most money with free agency.Long-time Jazz assistant Phil Johnson and Jerry Sloan
However, in all the madness that's been the last 24 hours, there was one last act of old school loyalty that has gone largely overlooked.
Long-time Jazz assistant Phil Johnson was loyal until the end. Having been told many times by Jazz management that the head coaching job would be his when Jerry decided to retire, Phil, to the surprise of even Jerry Sloan, walked away from that job opportunity and followed his long time friend into retirement.
Now that's loyalty.
Why Deron is Rude to the Media
Meanwhile Deron expressly denies that he demanded Sloan be fired, refusing to accept any pointed fingers that might have directed the blame at him. Deron is in his mind is a victim of spin and media guys that have betrayed him at one time or another (one wonders if he can't handle the Utah media, how is he going to handle the NY media).
“It sucks. I didn’t think he would ever retire in the middle of the season,” Williams said. “I watched the press conference and he said it was his time.”
Williams then took a swipe at reporters claming that he had a role in Sloan’s departure. “All those guys, Ric Bucher, Chris Broussard, they’re all in our locker room everyday,” Williams deadpanned. “I’ll let them report what they want to report, that’s what they are paid to do. That’s why I’m always short and rude with the media, because they’re your friend. Ric comes in and sits by me every time I see him, acts like he’s my friend, but the day they find something they want to spin, they jump on it. That’s why I am the way I am and will continue to be the way I am.”
Williams denied a report that he had approached Jazz management saying that he wouldn’t re-sign with the team when he’s a free agent if Sloan was still the head coach. “That’s not true. I would never force coach Sloan out of Utah. He’s meant more to this town and organization than I have by far. It’s not my place.”
In fact in the week before Sloan retired he had just agreed to a 1-year extension, amazingly enough. Sloan was not with one foot out the door, but perhaps his recent reflection on whether he wanted to extend had opened up the door enough. By most reports Sloan felt that he had lost his place of respect with ownership, and tired of Williams' prima donna act:
Sloan’s relationship with Williams had grown progressively worse over the course of the season, league sources said, and the coach had tired of dealing with the team’s best player. The frustration escalated on Wednesday night when Sloan and Williams clashed in the locker room at halftime.
“He decided right there in halftime that he was done,” a league source told Yahoo! Sports. “He felt like ownership was listening more to Williams than they were to him anymore. He was done.”
One source said Sloan had become tired of Williams “blaming everything on everyone else.” Still, Williams, who can become a free agent in the summer of 2012, has remained the Jazz’s best and most consistent player after the departure of several key teammates. Williams has always had a reputation for wanting to win badly and being a strong leader.
After feeling undermined, one source said Sloan told Jazz owner Greg Miller that if this is how he wanted to run a franchise, he could do it without him as coach.
So while there are quite a few things that might have forced Sloan and his assistant out, it seems pretty unlikely it was merely the cheapness of the owners. It was the way that he perceived that the player was valued over him as a coach, and the way that Williams failed to be respectful, or a leader to the young teammates. Sloan stopped wanting to coach the uber talented Williams altogether, while just signing to do that one more year. Ironically of course ownership saw in Williams someone who they could not trust to sign either.
Net fans are super excited to have DWill,and why wouldn't you be. But one should also heed what happened with Sloan and his coaching staff, and the way that he chaffed in having to play with new teammates. We think we have a choir boy and a rah rah coach. Not sure that it is a match made in heaven.