May 23, 2012

Would Former Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan Be a Good Fit With the Magic?

By - Kris Fletcher

According to reports, Jerry Sloan -- who resigned as head coach of the Utah Jazz after 23 seasons in 2011 following a mid-season loss to the Chicago Bulls, is ready to return to the NBA.

Photo by: Getty Images
During an interview with Fox Sports Florida on Tuesday, Sloan expressed interest in the Orlando Magic's vacant head coaching position, calling the job "intriguing" despite the uncertainty surrounding star center Dwight Howard.

The 70-year-old Sloan went on to say that the reason why he left in 2011 was because he "needed a break" from the game.

"I was a coach for over two decades. It was time for me to move on and see what was going on in the world," he said. "That's been kind of interesting, but I still have that void of basketball,"

Sloan currently ranks third all-time in regular season NBA coaching victories with 1,221, and he is the only coach in league history to win over 1,000 games with one team.

Obviously, Sloan has impeccable credentials. But the fact of the matter is, it's a bad idea for him to even remotely entertain the notion of going to Orlando.

When last we saw Sloan roaming the sidelines of the hardwood, he was on the wrong end of a losing battle with star point guard Deron Williams. In fact, their relationship became so strained, that they nearly came to blows at halftime against Chicago, in what would be Sloan's final game as Utah's coach.

Reportedly, Sloan had grown tired of dealing with the team's best player, and the fact that Williams "constantly blamed everything on everyone else." It's also well-known that Sloan believed ownership was listening more to Williams than they were him.

All this sounds very familiar...

Oh yeah, that's right. It's nearly the exact same scenario that transpired with the Magic and Stan Van Gundy this season. Star player (Dwight Howard) and head coach couldn't get along. The only difference being, Van Gundy elected to ride it out and make the Magic fire him, as opposed to just removing himself from the equation.

See the real problem here isn't the coaching, or even the personality of the head coaches themselves. Instead, the problem is the overall culture that now rules over the National Basketball Association.

That culture being -- the star players are now the ones actually running the teams, and the coaches are expected to be nothing more than glorified high-priced babysitters.

Grant you, it's going on in all major sports, but the NBA is by far the worst about it. Gone are the days where the coaches had some pull. Now, whenever a star gets irritated or has his little feelings hurt by a coach, he's up in the owners office asking for the coaches head -- and he's getting it.

Ask Stan Van Gundy.

My point is, while Jerry Sloan is a fantastic coach, he would have no chance at succeeding in Orlando. The Van Gundy/Howard fiasco only further verified what we all already knew. The star players are really calling the shots, so a hard-nosed guy such as Sloan would get nowhere with his old-school coaching methods.

The league doesn't want fiery coaches anymore. It wants guys who will sit quietly on the sidelines and just draw up plays on a clipboard, who in the end will simply back down and concede the leadership role to the "star" of the organization whenever that player sees fit.

*See the Miami Heat

Sloan was great in his day, but he's part of a dying breed of coaches that teams with superstar players no longer want around. He should do himself a favor, and stay as far away from the mess that is the Magic as he can get.

Luckily for guys like him, there's always the Charlotte Bobcats.


  1. I agree. Especially if Howard is staying. Sloan is suppose to meet with the Bobcats in the next few days. If he is coming back, thats probably where he'll land.

    1. Yeah. Orlando has disaster written all over it. Lol