What Happened THAT Night
“THAT night,” of course, refers to Feb. 9, 2011.
The following was related on 1280 by Scott Garrard* (circled below).
* He was introduced by Spencer Checketts thusly: “…and the man I like to call ‘Deep Throat’…” DO NOT VISUALIZE.
Photo credit: Diana Allen
At the end of a media round table with Greg Miller on June 25, which the media was not permitted to record, Jim Burton from the Standard Examiner asks Greg whether Jerry Sloan’s return to the franchise helps bridge the gap over what happened with Deron Williams.
Greg looks at the assembled media, and asks, “Do you guys want to hear the story?” He gets an affirmative response.
According to Greg, at halftime of Utah Jazz vs. Chicago Bulls on Feb. 9, 2011, Jerry tells Deron, who had broken several plays in the first half,* “If you’re going to break the offense and change plays, would you at least let your teammates know?”
Deron initially responds, “My bad,” but then starts going on about why he was changing plays, how things should be done, and why they should be done his way.
* Per Jody Genessy’s article on the media roundtable, the last play of the half broke down after Deron yelled at Gordon Hayward (again).
Jerry had had enough, and walks out of the locker room, passing Greg on his way out. He tells Greg, “I want to talk to you after the game.” Deron sees Jerry talking to Greg, and says he wants to be in the meeting too.
Jerry turns to Deron and says, “You want me to quit right now?”
While all this is happening, Al Jefferson is trying to calm everyone down. Deron leaves. Greg tells Jerry that he has the team’s full support.
According to Greg, the Jazz were not yet in trade discussions when this happened, as Carmelo Anthony had not yet been traded.
As Kevin O’Connor has said, he was sitting and waiting for the loser — though given how I feel about that whiny lil bitch you could call the team that *did* get him the “loser” — of the Anthony sweepstakes to emerge so he could throw the Deron trade package at them.
After the Jazz lose the game, Greg tries to placate Jerry and says, “We’ll fix this.”
Jerry says, “I have nothing left in the tank.”
Greg says, “I need you to finish the season.” Same response.
Greg says, “I need you through the All-Star break.” Same response.
Greg says, “Do you realize if you leave right now that it’s going to cause a lot of drama, that those of us who are still with the team have to deal with and manage?” *
Jerry agrees to sleep on it, and they agree to meet in the morning.
[According to Phil Johnson while being interviewed on KFAN on Feb. 3, 2011, sometime between "sleep on it" and the next morning, ownership/management offered him Jerry's job.]
Greg goes into the 11 a.m. meeting the next morning 100-percent confident that he can make Jerry change his mind.
Jerry, however, stands by his decision.
* This part is from an interview Greg gave in May 2011.
** Garrard also said that he’d heard from members of the Jazz’s front office that Jerry had dealt with a lot worse from Deron than he had that night, but it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
** Greg added that there weren’t any punches thrown or loud screaming. This last bit is in line with the piece Adrian Wojnarowski wrote on the situation (H/T @JazzBasketball1), which also quoted sources saying Jerry had felt undermined and told Greg that “if this is how he wanted to run a franchise, he could do it without him as coach.”
Of course, none of this addresses what that quote was about, and what had happened in the 1-2 months leading up to this point as the relationship between Jerry and Deron deteriorated, when Deron was doing stuff like going above Jerry’s head to get practices canceled, and ownership and management wanting to protect Deron’s trade value so badly that they wouldn’t allow Jerry to take disciplinary measures.
Management and ownership have become more and more open about discussing what happened that night, but have never to date addressed how lack of support for Jerry in the face of Deron’s insubordination may have affected how everything turned out.
That 1) Tyrone Corbin’s first words after being appointed coach were “I think I can work with Deron” and 2) Tyrone Corbin’s first act as coach, even before the press conference, was to take Deron to lunch (Greg and Jerry met at 11 a.m.; the press conference was scheduled at 2 p.m.) tells you what you need to know about how bad things had gotten with Deron though.
** Non-related bit from the podcast: Greg said that he/the Jazz need 25 more years of life from EnergySolutions Arena.