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Jerry Sloan: Deron Williams Trade Won't Affect Retirement

Feb 23, 2011 – 3:22 PM
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Chris Tomasson

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Just in case anybody in Utah is getting any wild ideas Jerry Sloan might return as coach now that Deron Williams has been traded, that's not going to happen.

"No,'' Sloan said in a phone interview with FanHouse on Wednesday. "That didn't have anything to do with it. I left on my own terms.''

There has been plenty of talk that Williams, due to having a run-in with Sloan, played a role in the legendary coach resigning Feb. 10 after 23 seasons on the Jazz bench. Williams, Utah's star point guard, was traded Wednesday to New Jersey in a deal that included the Jazz getting point guard Devin Harris and promising young big man Derrick Favors from the Nets.

Sloan said he didn't "have any reaction'' to Williams being traded. He was asked if it might be unfair that Williams will get a rap about Sloan's exit due to his departure coming 13 days after Sloan left.

"That's not for me to say,'' Sloan said. "You guys are the ones who write the articles.''

Regardless of whether the Sloan situation factored into Williams' exit, he can opt out of his contract and become a free agent in the summer of 2012. Williams had said Sunday during All-Star Weekend he was wary of being in a situation next season similar to that of Carmelo Anthony, who was on the trading block all season due to his ability to opt out this summer and finally was moved Tuesday from Denver to New York. And no doubt Utah officials also were concerned about a similar situation.

After his resignation, Sloan spent a week in Salt Lake City and then left for the Midwest, where he has been working on his farm outside McLeansboro, Ill., and has visited relatives in Indianapolis. He wouldn't completely rule out one day returning to coaching.

"I'm not even thinking about that,'' said Sloan, 68. "I might not be alive tomorrow.''

Sloan insists he hasn't missed the NBA in the two weeks he's been out and been replaced in Utah by Tyrone Corbin.

"I've been too busy,'' said Sloan, who said the work he has been doing mostly has been "pitter-pattering around and doing odd jobs'' on his farm in which the crops are wheat, soybeans and corn.

Sloan said he hasn't watched the Jazz on television in any of its three games since he left. He remembers well what he did Feb. 11, when Utah played Phoenix in the team's first game since 1988 without Sloan as coach.

"I went to bed at 8:30 and I got up at 7:30,'' Sloan said of being in bed that night when the game tipped off shortly after 8:30 p.m. MST.

Sloan hasn't seen any basketball games in person since his resignation and said he hasn't watched any on television. When pressed, though, he said he might have seen a minute or two.

"Maybe that,'' he said. "My wife is the one who flips the channels around so she might have flipped one (to basketball for a few minutes).''

Sloan, who played in the NBA from 1965-76 before later serving 26 overall seasons as an NBA head coach, continued to insist he hasn't missed basketball at all.

"It's a different lifestyle,'' said Sloan, who said he plans to keep his primary residence in Salt Lake City but will continue to make trips to his farm. "But I'm enjoying it.''

Chris Tomasson
Chris Tomasson | Twitter: @ChrisTomasson | E-mail Chris

Chris Tomasson covered the Denver Nuggets from 2002-09 for the defunct Rocky Mountain News. Prior to that, he was on the Cleveland Cavaliers beat for the Akron Beacon Journal and also has covered five Olympics, major college sports, the NFL and MLB. He has won numerous awards, including 10 in the past nine Pro Basketball Writers Association contests.
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