Ever since he shocked the basketball world in 2011, Jerry Sloan’s name has popped up in rumors and reports for a multitude of NBA coaching positions.
Portland, Charlotte, Milwaukee and so on.
Add another possibility — one much closer to home — to the mix.
The Utah Jazz have had a preliminary discussion with Sloan about returning to the fold in an unspecified position.
Twenty-eight months after resigning from being the Jazz’s head coach, the Hall of Famer is open to considering taking a role with his old organization to help the rebuilding franchise and his successor, Tyrone Corbin.
“That’s up to (them). That’s a situation that’s strictly up to Ty or somebody in the Jazz organization,” Sloan told the Deseret News. “If they want me around, fine. If they don’t, (fine). They’d talked to me a little bit about it a little bit earlier.”
Sloan didn’t say whether or not an offer was made. Nor did he specify whether a possible return would be as a consultant, a coach or in the front office. The 71-year-old, who still lives in Utah, is very respectful of Corbin, his former assistant coach and player, and wouldn’t want to become a distraction.
“I’d hate to be in anybody’s way,” Sloan said.
Kevin O’Connor, the Jazz’s executive vice president of basketball operations, was unavailable for a comment. Asked about Sloan possibly being hired back by the Jazz, general manager Dennis Lindsey replied, “No comment.”
Sloan has been rubbing shoulders with Jazz management more often as of late, though. He attended the majority of Utah’s home games last season — seated about 10 rows behind the home bench. Three weeks ago, Sloan was at Zions Bank Basketball Center for the team’s first pre-draft workout, which included six prospects for the June 27 NBA Draft.
Also last month, Sloan accepted the Jazz’s invitation to attend the NBA Pre-Draft Combine in Chicago, which is about 300 miles north of his farm in McLeansboro, Ill. The Jazz were represented at the massive invitation-only workout by the likes of O’Connor, Lindsey, Corbin and Walt Perrin, among others.
“They asked me if I wanted to go, and I said, ‘yes,’ and I went,” Sloan said. “I enjoyed being there watching some of these guys play. There were some I hadn’t seen before. I was just back killing time, it looked like.”
While it remains a mystery whether he’ll make an NBA comeback, Sloan’s coaching tree expanded this past week when his former players Karl Malone (Jazz big men) and Jeff Hornacek (Suns head coach) accepted various positions.
Though the Hall of Fame power forward still resides in Louisiana, Malone will help coach Jazz bigs Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Jeremy Evans on an “as-needed basis.”