Former NBA All-Star and legendary Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has died

The Utah Jazz have issued the following statement and background information in response to the passing of NBA and Jazz legend Jerry Sloan earlier this morning due to complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia at the age of 78:

From the Utah Jazz:

“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.

“Our Hall of Fame coach for 23 years, Jerry had a tremendous impact on the Jazz franchise as expressed by his banner hanging in the arena rafters. His 1,223 Jazz coaching wins, 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs and two NBA Finals appearances are remarkable achievements. His hard-nosed approach only made him more beloved. Even after his retirement, his presence at Jazz games always brought a roaring response from the crowd.

“Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization. He will be greatly missed. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him.”

From the Miller Family:

“It was an honor and a privilege to have one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history coaching our team. We have appreciated our relationship with Jerry and acknowledge his dedication to and passion for the Utah Jazz. He has left an enduring legacy with this franchise and our family. The far-reaching impact of his life has touched our city, state and the world as well as countless players, staff and fans. We pray his family will find solace and comfort in Jerry’s life. The Miller family and Jazz organization will be proud to honor him with a permanent tribute.”

Background:

A 2009 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Sloan spent 23 seasons as the head coach of the Jazz (1988-2011), finishing his career with the third most wins in NBA history (1,221-803), sixth best winning percentage (.603) all-time (min. 500 wins), two NBA Finals appearances (1997 and 1998) and seven division titles. He also guided the Jazz to 16 consecutive winning seasons and thirteen 50-win seasons. Sloan’s teams made 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs (19 with Utah: 1989-2003, ’07-10) and his 98 playoff wins are the sixth most in NBA history.

Sloan ranks second on the NBA’s all-time list for consecutive games coached with one franchise (1,809), and also owns the second most wins with one team (1,127). Sloan is one of just seven coaches in league history to win at least 50 games in 10 different seasons (Rick Adelman, Don Nelson, Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich and George Karl). Sloan’s 16 consecutive winning seasons (1988-2004) are fourth-most all-time (Popovich-22, Jackson-20, Riley-19) and he joined Popovich (22), Jackson (11) and Red Auerbach (11) as the only four coaches in NBA history to have 10 straight winning seasons with one team. Sloan was the first coach to ever win 1,000 games with one franchise and was the fifth coach in NBA history to record 1,000 career wins.

After leading the Jazz to a 42-40 record in 2003-04 in the first season following the departures of John Stockton and Karl Malone, Sloan was selected by The Sporting News as the NBA Coach of the Year as voted on by his NBA peers, and was runner-up for the Red Auerbach NBA Coach of the Year as voted by a panel of national media that covers the NBA. He also finished second in NBA Coach of the Year balloting in 2006-07. He was named NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month 10 times during his career. In 2016, Sloan was honored at halftime of that night’s NBA Finals Game 3 in Cleveland as the co-recipient of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Basketball Coaches Association (along with former Celtics coach K.C. Jones).

Sloan worked for the Jazz organization for 34 years as either head coach, assistant, scout or senior basketball adviser. Sloan started with the Jazz as a scout (1983-84), became an assistant coach to Frank Layden on Nov. 19, 1984, and was named the sixth head coach in franchise history on December 9, 1988, when Layden resigned. Twenty-three seasons and 1,809 games later, Sloan finished his career as the Jazz’s winningest coach based on both wins and winning percentage (1,127-682, .623). The longest tenured coach with one franchise in all of major professional sports at the time of his retirement, there were 245 NBA head coaching changes during his Jazz coaching career. Sloan coached 133 different players during his tenure as head coach of the Jazz.

Sloan’s banner at Vivint Smart Home arena hangs next to five of his former players whose numbers are retired: Mark Eaton (53), Darrell Griffith (35), Jeff Hornacek (14), Karl Malone (32) and John Stockton (12); his former head coach and general manager Frank Layden (1); longtime Jazz owner Larry H. Miller (9), legendary broadcaster “Hot” Rod Hundley (3051) and former Jazz players Adrian Dantley (4) and Pete Maravich (7).

A veteran of the NBA as a player and coach for more than 45 years, prior to joining the Jazz, Sloan coached the Chicago Bulls for three seasons (1979-82) and was a two-time NBA All-Star as a player (1967, 1969) over 11 NBA seasons with Chicago and Baltimore (1965-76). Sloan became the first player in Bulls’ history to have his number retired when the franchise retired his No. 4 jersey on Feb. 17, 1978.

Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf released the following statement after the passing of Jerry Sloan:

“Jerry Sloan was ‘The Original Bull’ whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago. Jerry was the face of the Bulls organization from its inception through the mid-1970s, and very appropriately, his uniform No. 4 was the first jersey retired by the team. A great player and a Hall-of-Fame NBA coach, most importantly, Jerry was a great person. Our sympathies go out to the Sloan family and all his many fans.”

Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich issued the following statement regarding the passing of Jerry Sloan:

“It’s a sad day for all of us who knew Jerry Sloan. Not only on the basketball court but, more importantly, as a human being. He was genuine and true. And that is rare. He was a mentor for me from afar until I got to know him. A man who suffered no fools, he possessed a humor, often disguised, and had a heart as big as the prairie.”

Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic undergoes wrist surgery

Following multiple medical consultations, Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic underwent a successful surgical procedure on Tuesday morning to repair a ruptured scapholunate ligament in his right wrist. The procedure was performed at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michelle Carlson.

It’s not yet clear how long Bogdanovic’s recovery will take.

The current NBA season is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, and how it will be concluded remains unknown. But Bogdanovic isn’t expected to play until 2020-21.

Per the Deseret News, “the scapholunate ligament is the main ligament in the wrist that couples extension and the side-to-side motion of the wrist. “It’s probably the most important ligament in the wrist and the most commonly injured one,” said Dr. David Clark Hay, the orthopedic hand and wrist surgeon at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, who has long worked with professional athletes and is the hand surgery consultant to the Anaheim Ducks.”

In his first season with the Jazz, the sixth-year forward was averaging a career-high 20.2 points on 44.7 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from downtown, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in a career-high 33.1 minutes per contest. Bogdanovic has played in 63 games during the 2019-20 season (all starts) and is one of only two players in the NBA this season to average 20 points, 40 percent from the three-point line and 90 percent from the free-throw line.

After standing out in Europe for half a decade and spending the past five years in the NBA, Bogdanovic signed with the Jazz in July 2019.

Knicks will reportedly hire Walt Perrin for front office

Here’s New York Newsday reporting on a front office addition that the Knicks are set to make:

The Knicks are finalizing a deal to bolster their front office by adding veteran NBA executive Walt Perrin, according to a league source.

Leon Rose, who was named team president March 2, added Brock Aller earlier this month to serve as chief strategist, specializing in helping with the salary cap. In Perrin, Rose lands a seasoned scouting presence.

Perrin is expected to serve as assistant general manager/college scouting. He worked for the Utah Jazz the last 19 years as vice president of player personnel.

And here’s the Deseret News reporting:

Perrin has long been respected throughout the league for being one of the most well connected figures when it comes to NBA prospects and scouting.

A native of Chicago, Perrin started his NBA career as a scout for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1993 and spent time with the Detroit Pistons in the scouting and coaching departments before joining the Jazz.

Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic will undergo wrist surgery

Here’s NBA.com reporting on Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic:

Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic will undergo season-ending wrist surgery.

Bogdanovic hurt his right wrist sometime in 2019 and the injury continued to bother him throughout the season…

Bogdanovic was averaging 20.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in his first season with the Jazz.

Catch up with the Utah Jazz through VP Dennis Lindsey

Here’s the Salt Lake Tribune with an update from Utah Jazz VP Dennis Lindsey:

Lindsey also cited the synergy between the player development/health performance side and the bench coaches. Individual players have been evaluated, as have collective units. He noted that, with no playoffs ongoing and no Chicago combine to attend, he personally has been doing a deep dive into video and statistical work — that is, when he’s not on one of the myriad general managers’ calls or board of governors’ calls that are increasingly taking place…

As for whether it’s even a worthwhile endeavor at this point to try to salvage anything of the 2019-20 campaign, Utah’s key decision-maker is of the opinion that it is.

“As far as my opinion, whether the league should try to come back, it’s overlaid simply by, ‘Can we come back safely?’ If the health permits, then let’s try to come back,” Lindsey said. “I’m all for naming a champion, even if it’s a truncated champion. Those teams that are in the midst of playoff chases and championship chases, we want to compete and name a champion.”

The NBA’s decision on how to handle the remainder of the 2019-20 season and of course the playoffs, comes down to input from doctors, science and health professionals as much as it does anyone else.

Veteran forward Trevor Booker announces retirement from NBA

Forward Trevor Booker has announced his retirement from the NBA, calling it a career by tweeting out the news in video format Tuesday evening.

He played in the league between 2010-18, and wasn’t on a squad last season or the currently-suspended one.

Overall, Booker averaged 6.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, spending the most time on the Wizards, and also playing for the Jazz, Nets, Sixers and Pacers.

Booker has famously been involved in business, for years. Fans can expect to keep hearing his name on that front.

Utah Jazz arena employees to receive financial relief

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, some good news is emerging out of Salt Lake City.

The Desert News reports:

Thanks to generous donations and creative collaboration, the vast Vivint Arena workforce, suddenly off the clock since games and events there were recently postponed, will soon receive financial relief and temporary employment opportunities, multiple sources have told the Deseret News.

A little more than 1,000 part-time arena employees — who make things click for games, concerts and other events — will have extra funds placed in their next paycheck thanks to donations from Gail Miller, the Miller family and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, according to sources.

The economic assistance will be distributed equally — an undisclosed amount — to employees in light of the arena’s temporary closure and workers being furloughed because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to a suspension of the NBA season and a postponement of scheduled entertainment.

Rough waters remain ahead. But this is a very generous gesture being made to people who help make events at the arena a success.

Rudy Gobert calls for Utah Jazz to step up

The Jazz lost 113-104 to the Spurs Friday. And despite playing at home, they started slowly, trailing by six points after one quarter, and were outscored by 13 in the second. Center Rudy Gobert wasn’t pleased after the game. Here’s the Deseret News reporting:

“It’s on us to be more physical and come out with an edge that we used to have,” Gobert said after the 113-104 loss. “If you want to be a champion, if you want to be one of the best teams in the league it’s got to be who we are and we’ve got to come out every night with that chip on our shoulder. No matter who we play we’ve got to come out with something to prove. That’s what teams are doing to us and they’re having fun.

“They don’t really respect us, They come out, push us around, deny us, we don’t react, take us out of what we want to do, and then offensively they’re just playing free. Dejounte Murray, all these guys they’re playing like they get out of the cage and they can do whatever they want because it’s easy.”

Gobert did his part last night, putting up 18 points and 14 rebounds on nearly-perfect 7-of-8 shooting. But the four other Jazz starters each shot below 36% from the field. And Jazz perimeter defenders allowed 10-of-20 three-point shooting from San Antonio.

Still, the Jazz are 36-19 for the season. A very solid record.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert did big things in the All-Star game

Defensive-minded Jazz center Rudy Gobert did big things in a very offensive-minded event, the All-Star game. He was fantastic on both ends of the floor, though. Here’s the Deseret News reporting:

If ever there was a doubt that Rudy Gobert belonged on an NBA All-Star team, that doubt was dashed away and forgotten on Sunday night.

Amid the big names and plethora of talent jammed onto the All-Star team rosters, the Utah Jazz center shined like a diamond in the rough in his All-Star debut, scoring 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting to go with 11 rebounds, two assists and a block as a reserve for Team Giannis.
“He hears all the negative and all that stuff and he enjoys and embraces it and wears it like a cape,” his fellow Jazz and Team Giannis teammate Donovan Mitchell said. “He just goes out there and hoops. He didn’t get too much out of his comfort zone. He just went out there and did what he does and I really respect that about him.”

The Jazz are currently 8th in the league in both offense and defense, and at 36-18 they’re 4th in the West.

Utah Jazz sign guard Rayjon Tucker

The Utah Jazz signed guard Rayjon Tucker today.

Tucker (6-3, 209, Arkansas-Little Rock) has played in 16 games (all starts) for the Wisconsin Herd of the NBA G League this season where he’s averaged 23.8 points on 49.4 percent from the field, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 33.8 minutes per contest.

The 22-year-old finished his collegiate career at Arkansas-Little Rock, owning averages of 20.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals in 36.6 minutes per game during the 2018-19 season. The Charlotte, N.C. native was named to the 2018-19 All-Sun Belt Second Team following his final college season. He played for Florida Gulf Coast for two seasons (2015-17) prior to Arkansas-Little Rock.

Tucker will wear no. 6 for the Jazz.

Utah Jazz sign guard Rayjon Tucker