The NBA world is still reeling from Jerry Sloan’s shocking resignation. When the longest-tenured coach in American professional sports informed the world that he was done, most of the blame seemed to fall on Deron Williams’ shoulders.
According to several media reports, Sloan and his star point guard — who’s repeatedly voiced his displeasure with the state of things in Utah — had been clashing all season long, and a heated argument at halftime on Wednesday night in the midst of a tough home loss was the final straw for Jerry.
Deron Williams responded to the speculation, angrily accusing the media of trying to paint him as the scapegoat in all of this.
“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.”
We’ll likely never truly know what happened in Utah to force Sloan out — maybe the problems with DWill were too much to handle, perhaps he knew the Jazz were doomed this season anyhow, or maybe it was simply time for him to walk away from the game after so many years.
One thing is certain, though. The NBA is a much poorer place today without Jerry Sloan.