Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
After confirming reports that he was interested in a possible return to the NBA, former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said he would be open to coaching the Brooklyn Nets and reuniting with former Jazzman Deron Williams.
“I'm open, I would listen,” Sloan told csnnw.com in a phone interview. “I haven't done the research on their roster, but I would definitely listen if they called.”
When asked about the possibility of reuniting with Sloan, Williams told the New York Post that he "would love to play" for his former coach.
In December, Williams praised Sloan's coaching style saying the system that he ran with the Jazz was a good fit.
"And that system (in Utah) was a great system for my style of play. I'm a system player, and I loved coach (Jerry) Sloan's system. I loved the offense there. We could've been a really good team. We just weren't that good defensively as a group."
The Nets fired coach Avery Johnson in late December, and elected to let go of interim coach P.J. Carlesimo after the Nets' Game 7 ouster by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs.
According to Sports Illustrated, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is looking for a high profile coach with Phil Jackson topping the list of preferred candidates. Jackson however, has said that he is not interested in coaching, and recently took an advisory position with the Detroit Pistons.
Other candidates include Sloan, Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and former Trailblazer coach Nate McMillan.
After coaching the Jazz for 23 seasons, Sloan abruptly resigned mid-season in 2011 after allegedly having a conflict with Williams after the previous night's game. Williams was traded to the Nets two weeks later.
Sloan, who turned 71 in March, nearly came out of retirement last season. He turned down an offer to coach the Portland Trailblazers and was in the running to coach the Charlotte Bobcats before removing himself from consideration.
According to Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times, a newspaper based in Racine, Wis., Sloan would prefer to coach a team in a smaller market.
"I talked to a couple of friends of Jerry Sloan's within the past couple of days, he definitely wants to return to coaching, and the other interesting facet is that he wants to coach in the small markets, one similar to Utah, so I think Milwaukee qualifies as that kind of environment," Woelfel said in a radio interview.
Sloan, for his part, has been playing coy about a possible return.
“I haven’t quit answering the phone," he told Fox Sports Florida. "If something comes along, it does. If something doesn’t, it doesn’t. That’s one way to look at it.’’
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