Yet again, a team chose to side with its star player over its head coach.
It didn’t matter that the coach was a legend, ranking third on the all-time wins list and as respected as anyone in sports.
Deron Williams is the face of the franchise and the name that sells tickets, not Jerry Sloan. In a desperate effort to appease Williams, who could leave as a free agent after next season, the Utah Jazz chose to support Williams over its coach.
Technically, Sloan resigned, but it’s quite clear that the organisation was more concerned with accommodating Williams than with backing its coach.
Williams is a electrifying and is among the best players in the league. But he’s never won anything. If he leaves, Utah will be devastated. But there are plenty of top notch young point guards in the league — as many as four (Rondo, Rose, Paul, and Westbrook) are better than Williams right now.
There’s only one Jerry Sloan. Yes, he’s getting old. And yes, the Jazz haven’t been to the NBA Finals since 1998. But Sloan has earned the right to leave on his terms, like Joe Paterno at Penn State. Or at least he should have. Instead, the Jazz gave in to the whining of their superstar player, as so many teams before them have done.
It’s sad, really. And it will be even sadder when Williams drags the Jazz through another year of uncertainty and public rumours before leaving them in the dust via free agency in 2012.
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