Michael Brandy, Deseret News
Coach Jerry Sloan made a major announcement while addressing the media after the Jazz cleaned out their lockers on Saturday morning.
He's still kicking.
"I think I'm still alive," was Sloan's response when asked how he felt after such a long season. "I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but today I'm still alive. I'm a little bit tired. I didn't sleep the best last night, but there's plenty of time to get caught up on that."
Sloan's amount of rest time greatly increased, and his 20th season as Utah's head coach ended, when the Jazz lost to the Lakers 108-105 in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals on Friday night. On Saturday morning, he did not confirm whether or not he'll be back for his 21st season, although it seems more than likely that he'll return.
"I'm not considering not coming back," Sloan said. "I have to reevaluate myself and where I am in my career, see what's happened here. I'll let them know. That's the policy we've always had. But it's not a big deal. I don't know what tomorrow brings."
Sloan will clear his head before he completely commits to coaching the Jazz during the 2008-09 season. The annual day after the Jazz have their season ended, when they clean out their lockers and say their goodbyes to each other for the summer, is always a draining experience. It isn't the best time to make major decisions or announcements.
"This day is a tough day," Sloan said. "I don't like it a little bit. Never have liked it."
Sloan could be in for more tough experiences this offseason.
Phil Johnson, Sloan's top assistant for the past 20 years, will soon talk to the Phoenix Suns about their open head-coaching position. The Suns sought permission from the Jazz to speak with Johnson and were granted it on Friday. Phoenix has to replace Mike D'Antoni, who resigned to become the new head coach of the New York Knicks.
Assistant coach Tyrone Corbin confirmed on Saturday morning that he has been contacted by both the Suns and the Chicago Bulls about their head-coaching vacancies. He has yet to schedule an interview with either club but will soon do so.
"We'll see," Corbin said. "You're always looking to see what's out there. It would be tough (to leave). They (the Jazz's coaching staff) are a great group of guys. We'll see how it works out."
Sloan said his assistants have his blessing to pursue other positions.
"They don't owe me one thing," Sloan said. "They've given us everything we could ask for from a head-coaching standpoint. They've been the best. I've been blessed to have those people. Phil and I have been together my whole career. I don't know what I'd do without him, but life goes on."
Life without Sloan and the current coaching staff is difficult to envision for the Jazz and their fans. Even a player like Jazz guard Kyle Korver, who has spent less than five months with the current coaching staff, hopes to see it remain intact."I enjoyed coach Sloan a lot, and I definitely expect him back next year," Korver said. "I think he still has a passion for the game. He's a great coach. He has a system that he's coached and run well for a long time, and I'm glad to be a part of it."
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