Jerry Sloan Rumors
Carlos Boozer said there was no pressure replacing Karl Malone in Utah, because Andrei Kirilenko was already very good, he was joined in free agency by Mehmet Okur, and the team drafted Deron Williams a year later to form a talented core: “I had a blast here. I had a great time, man — this is one of the best teams I ever played on. We were like a family. Coach Sloan made sure of that, Larry Miller made sure of that. My kids would be running up and down the hallway, all our kids would be doing the same thing. We had a really unique team where everybody was an option.”
Carlos Boozer: “There’s a couple coaches in my life that really stick out for me personally. Obviously my dad put the ball in my hands. My high school coach, who’s also here, really helped my development. Coach K gave me the foundation of the pro that I would be moving forward. And coach Sloan gave me a chance to be a star. He talked to me a lot — we talked on the phone maybe three or four times before I even got here, before I signed the contract. And then when I got here, [we had a conversation] where he felt like there were certain things I could bring to the table that no one else on the team had. So for me, he really took my career from here to here. I wouldn’t be sitting here now if it wasn’t for coach Sloan.”
NBA PR: The NBA today unveiled the 15 Greatest Coaches in NBA History as part of the continuing celebration of the league’s 75th Anniversary Season. The list was selected by a panel of 43 current & former NBA head coaches in collaboration with the National Basketball Coaches Association.
Wilkens took pride in his defense and said he drew the assignment of guarding the likes of Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Jerry Sloan and Walt Frazier — the opponent’s top guard. The NBA didn’t start tracking steals until 1973 when, at 36, Wilkens still managed 1.3 swipes per game for the Cavs. “I think that I would have led the league in steals if they had been keeping track early on,” Wilkens said. “I was a better player than a lot of people realize. I think that I contributed to the game. “When I was a player, I think that I worked hard at being as good as I could be. When I was a coach, it was the same thing. Each has its own reward, so to speak.”
Joining Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s ‘All the Smoke’, the three-time All-star talked about how things started when he was still up and coming into the league. “Our relationship was definitely strained at the end. I think I held onto that rookie year, not starting — how he didn’t really play me, and would play me a couple of minutes here. I think I took that personally for a while when I was younger and kind of held that grudge. So, I think that affected me a little bit.”
Williams further admitted that at certain times, it was his fault for being a stubborn one. “I was definitely a little s*** at times — a little prima donna. I also, I knew how coach Sloan was, and I think I kind of would poke the bear just to see his reactions, too. It was kind of like a little back and forth thing; s*** that I definitely wouldn’t do now, knowing what I know now. But I always respected coach Sloan; I learned a lot from him. My best years were definitely in Utah. I got a lot of love and respect for him as a coach and as a person.”
The 37-year-old former point guard finally revealed that he fixed what was broken with him and the coaching icon a few years back before its death. “I always knew I needed to reach out and apologize. He was definitely regressing a little bit. And our conversations were kind of, they actually got heated a couple times — well he got heated a couple times. It was almost like he was right back in the moment when I pissed him off. But I was happy I was able to get a chance before he passed, to talk with him and apologize for being a little s***.”