The Utah Jazz announced Friday Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan passed away at the age of 78 after a battle with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.
Sloan coached the Jazz for 23 seasons from 1988-2011. He led the Jazz to two trips to the NBA Finals, 1,223 wins and 20 trips to the playoffs. He retired as the third-winningest coach in NBA history.
“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz," the Jazz said in a statement. “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.”
Five of Sloan’s former players have retired jerseys in Utah, most notably John Stockton and Karl Malone. They are regarded as two of the best players at their positions and teamed up with Sloan to lead the Jazz to 15 consecutive playoff appearances as a group.
“Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization," the Jazz organization said. "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.”
One of Sloan’s biggest accomplishments was keeping the Jazz relevant after losing two of the best players to ever play. He had just one losing season in the first seven years without Stockton and Malone. He rebuilt a team around Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer and made four consecutive playoff appearances.
Sloan was also a two-time All-Star as a player with the Chicago Bulls. He averaged 14 points and 7.4 rebounds in an 11-year career. The Bulls also released a statement on Sloan’s passing.
Sloan was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Nets reportedly interested in Bradley Beal
The Nets will add a healthy Kevin Durant to their team next season, but apparently they want more. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported that the Nets are interested in acquiring Bradley Beal next season to pair with Durant and Kyrie Irving.
The Eastern Conference is up for grabs, and this is the Nets’ attempt to form the next dynasty. Giannis Antetokounmpo has a pending free agency decision in 2021, the Sixers are struggling to put the right core around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, the Raptors may need more star power and the Celtics have important financial decisions to make on Jaylon Brown and Jayson Tatum.
Acquiring Beal would give the Nets three All-Stars under contract until 2023. This isn’t the first time Beal’s name has come up in trade discussions, and it’s unlikely to be the last.
What makes the Nets’ appeal interesting is they have the type of players to get a deal done. Spencer Dinwiddie is averaging a career-high 20.6 points this season, and Caris LeVert is having his best campaign, totaling 17.7 points per night. Both players have intriguing upside and would be tantalizing pieces in trade talks.
Dinwiddie may have even taken notice of his likeliness to be involved in a trade.
The Nets are seventh in the Eastern Conference this season and poised to take a leap with Durant back in the lineup. That jump could potentially lead them to the NBA Finals with the addition of Beal.