Utah Jazz: Greg Miller opens up about job, family, Jazz, Ty Corbin and even Jerry Sloan
"The last play of the half," Miller said, "Deron got after Gordon Hayward, the play broke down and we went into the locker room."
During that fateful halftime break, Sloan "reprimanded Deron" for freelancing. According to Miller, who usually accompanies the team into the locker room, the Jazz coach told his star player something to the effect of, "Hey, if you're going to change the play, it would be nice if you'd let the rest of the team know so we have a chance to score."
Williams' response: "My bad."
Much to Miller's chagrin, the contentious moment, however, continued after that exchange.
"If (Williams) would've left it right there, Jerry might have never left," Miller said.
Instead, Williams allegedly continued to pop off. Jazz center Al Jefferson even reached over and tried to ease tensions by telling his teammate, "C'mon now."
Sloan had had enough.
"Jerry said at that point, 'I don’t have anything else,'" Miller said.
Instead of turning the time over to his assistants, Sloan headed to his office around the corner from the players lockers. As he passed Miller, the then-68-year-old coach told the Jazz CEO, "I'd like to have a word with you after the game."
"Deron was right behind us and he said, 'Yeah, I want to be in the meeting too,'" Miller related. "Jerry said, 'Do you want me to just quit right now?'"
That shocked Miller and, no doubt, everybody who heard him drop the foreshadowing bombshell.
After team members went their separate ways during halftime, Miller approached Sloan and pledged his support.
"I want you to be very clear on one thing," Miller told Sloan. He continued, "If anything got to the point where we had to make a choice between a player and you as our head coach, we would side with you a hundred times out of a hundred."
"He said, 'Well, I don't know how much I have left in me,'" Miller said.
Sloan mustered the strength to return to the court and coach the rest of a game the Jazz lost 93-89 to the Bulls.
The conversation continued in the coaches office after the game (while media waited and waited for about an hour, not knowing what was going on behind the scenes).
Miller tried to convince Sloan to "muscle through" the rough times — but to no avail.
"He said, 'You know, Greg, I'm going to be 70 years old. I've been at this a long time and there's nothing left in the tank. I think I'm done."
Miller responded, "Jerry, c'mon. I understand "
Sloan cut him off. "I'm serious. I'm out of gas."
Miller tried to convince him to coach the rest of the season — or at least through the upcoming All-Star break.
"You're not hearing me," Sloan told Miller. "I'm out of gas."
Miller eventually got Sloan to agree to contemplate his decision overnight after telling him that the Jazz would have a "PR nightmare" to deal with if he quit midseason.
"We are going to have a very, very difficult time managing (that). It's not going to reflect well on the franchise," Miller told Sloan. "That stopped him in his tracks."
Miller was hopeful Sloan would reconsider his decision after sleeping on it and talking through things the following morning. The Jazz set a meeting for 11 a.m.
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