HoopsHype Greg Miller rumors

February 3, 2012 Updates

For four hours last Friday, Malone co-hosted my radio show and talked about many topics, the way only Malone can. His signature point: He said the Jazz botched the Williams-Sloan situation, giving the player too much power, and essentially blamed Kevin O’Connor and Greg Miller for undermining an icon who had coached the Jazz for 23 years. “On the whole handling of that, I would have to give [them] a D or F, and I would lean more toward an F,” said Malone, who has remained close to Sloan since his own retirement in 2004. Salt Lake Tribune

Trouble had been stirring between Williams and Sloan for months. Sloan admitted that the two “got into it.” Malone said the Jazz had empowered the point guard to go directly to O’Connor when he disagreed with Sloan and that was, as Karl called it, “the perfect storm.” “I know for a fact that [Sloan] was overridden on practices sometime on the road because Deron was calling our G.M. at that time,” Malone said. “ … You give a guy that much power, and he’s the kind of player you think he played hard all the time, but if he wanted to sulk he could sulk. … I never went to Larry [Miller] to talk about Coach Sloan. … It’s not one time, in my gut and heart, that I would go over his head.” Salt Lake Tribune

The Jazz have stayed with their company line that Sloan simply got tired and decided the time was right to jump aboard his John Deere and ride off into the sunset. Malone, who regularly talks with Sloan, called B.S. on that. “That defining moment when [management and ownership] should have stood up for Jerry Sloan, they chose Deron Williams,” he said. “And Coach Sloan, being the coach I know and love, said, ‘You know what? We should part ways.’ And he said what he said. And once Coach Sloan says something, it’s history.” Salt Lake Tribune

January 16, 2012 Updates

Jazz owner Gail Miller and CEO Greg Miller were not at Saturday's Utah Reunion with all those familiar faces from New Jersey. Their absence was noticeable, but they didn't miss the Jazz-Nets game to avoid an awkward encounter with either of the ex-Jazzmen who were traded to New Jersey in the past year. The Millers were simply hosting their annual out-of-town retreat for Larry H. Miller Group of Companies' senior management. The timing was coincidental but unavoidable due to a scheduling conflict. "It had nothing at all to do with Memo (Okur) or Deron (Williams) or the fact that we were playing the Nets," Jazz senior vice president of communications Linda Luchetti said. "This was planned last summer." Deseret News

November 23, 2011 Updates

Brian T. Smith: #UtahJazz's Greg Miller: "Ever since 1985, we've been fortunate that we haven't been threatened about the Jazz being a threat to the other businesses, and that is still the case today. When we spent the money that we did last year on our players, that was by design — it wasn't an accident. We knew where we stood. There's nothing that's an accident. It's all deliberate." Twitter

Brian T. Smith: Miller: "Even with the numbers with the way they we were, it was by design, it wasn't an accident. And we have absolutely no intention of selling the team. ... We're not even in the realm of consideration of that right now." Twitter

Greg Miller on a report he could sell the Jazz: "I … I get frustrated whenever I see that. Because my Dad has said since he bought the team in 1985 that the Jazz will be a part of the Salt Lake landscape and the Utah landscape as long as they're not a burden on the other businesses that we depend on to keep our employees employed and feed our families and so on. Ever since 1985, we've been fortunate that we haven't been threatened with the Jazz being a threat to the other businesses, and that is still the case today. When we spent the money that we did last year on our players, that was by design — it wasn't an accident. We knew where we stood. There's nothing that's an accident. It's all deliberate. Now, there are certainly things beyond our control that sometimes change your plan in midstream. But it basically worked out as we expected it to economically. Salt Lake Tribune

November 22, 2011 Updates
November 21, 2011 Updates

In fact, one source with intimate knowledge of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies' inner workings speculated that small-market-related economic hardships could force Jazz ownership to place a "For Sale" sign on the franchise. The source told the Deseret News that the Jazz were expected to report losses in the $17 million range for the 2010-11 season. Deseret News

"Greg has consistently stated that as long as owning the Jazz makes financial sense, the Millers will own the team," the source said. "However, under the current system, it doesn't make financial sense." Deseret News

But the team, the source said, has lost money almost every year since moving to Utah from New Orleans in 1979. Last year, Greg Miller admitted to ESPN that, "some years we make money, and some years we lose money." Deseret News

From his vantage point, RSL owner and pro sports mogul Dave Checketts can't envision the Miller family selling the Jazz. He doesn't view their commitment as conditional. "I think the Jazz have a tremendous, tremendous fan following. I think teams like that will always exist in the markets they're in," said Checketts, whose resume includes time spent as the Jazz's president and general manager. "I don't think the Jazz are an endangered species." Deseret News

October 23, 2011 Updates

In LHM’s diverse business flowchart, the flashy Jazz are just one strong branch on an ever-growing multibillion-dollar tree, and the team is protected and supported by the businesses it feeds. Miller’s vision in full-bloom: 45 auto dealerships in seven states that are on track to sell about 65,000 vehicles this year; 73 sports merchandise stores in 14 states; six Megaplex Theatres with 84 screens in Utah, including one that opened Oct. 14 in Centerville. How large has LHM become? If the Jazz were based upon wheels and fenders instead of a basketball bouncing upon hardwood, the team would be only LHM’s fourth-largest Toyota dealership in terms of revenue. “And when it comes to profitability, it goes way down,” said Greg Miller, LHM and Jazz chief executive. Salt Lake Tribune

Thirty-two years after Larry bought his first dealership, LHM fights on. Staff reductions kept the company profitable, while LHM invested savings back into a company that started to focus more on its core assets. Grand openings and remodelings now decorate the company’s calendar, while $120 million has been devoted to current and future construction costs on the auto side. All the while, a business that sold 54,345 new and used cars in 2010 balances its desire for financial profit with its importance to the community. But LHM hasn’t been untouchable: Larry Miller’s beloved but unprofitable Miller Motor-sports Park has been a financial drain. Salt Lake Tribune

His controversial decision not to screen the gay-themed “Brokeback Mountain” in 2006 on the family’s theaters backfired, illustrating to some that the corporation was out of touch. VIP season ticket holders in 2010 sued the corporate parent of the Jazz, accusing team ownership of causing their courtside seats to plummet in value by taking away exclusive rights. The case is pending. But records from Utah’s 3rd District Court show 214 cases involving the Miller companies from 1988 to the present in which the company was a plaintiff 182 times and a defendant just eight. Salt Lake Tribune

No matter how tightly Rigby runs the sports-and-entertainment division, a few extra millions made by a pro basketball team are secondary to LHM’s ability to successfully emerge from the recession. The largest change occurred under the radar, and it could be the biggest key to the company’s continued success. Miller said a 20-month plan to pay off LHM’s capital and revolving debt was expected to come to fruition six months early. The company was prepared to be debt free in both areas by the end of September, leaving real estate as the only remaining negative. Moreover, LHM has significant capital reserves, allowing the majority of its future growth to occur without leverage. Salt Lake Tribune

Meanwhile, the Jazz have been criticized by some agents who have requested anonymity before railing against what they say are the team’s tightfisted ways. But many more players say the organization represents the best of what the NBA has to offer. Then there’s Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, a longtime Jazz supporter who hears two questions when he travels across the country: Are you Mormon, and wasn’t John Stockton great? “The legacy of Larry Miller is going to live on forever … in this community,” Becker said. Salt Lake Tribune

October 17, 2011 Updates

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