SALT LAKE CITY — After losing Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver in free agency to the Chicago Bulls, and seeing Wesley Matthews sign a front-loaded, $34 million offer sheet from the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor had his work cut out for him this summer if he didn't want the team to take a major step backward.
O'Connor proved he still had some tricks up his sleeve, however, as he landed center/forward Al Jefferson in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves and signed hard-nosed veteran Raja Bell.
The Jazz ownership certainly liked the moves O'Connor was able to pull out of his hat — enough to reward the team's executive vice president of basketball operations/general manager with a multiyear contract extension.
Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.
"It is a blessing for me to have someone as knowledgeable and experienced as Kevin O'Connor help guide decisions relative to the Jazz roster," said Greg Miller, CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, in a news release. "Kevin is one of the main reasons that our team has been as competitive as it has been for as long as it has."
O'Connor is starting his 12th season as the Jazz's general manager. Only Sacramento's Geoff Petrie, who has been with the Kings for 16 years, has a longer tenure with his current NBA team.
"Kevin is one of the premier general managers and best basketball minds in the NBA," said Jazz president Randy Rigby. "He is a great team player who has consistently shown the ability to recognize our needs and proactively worked to fill them. He understands our style and philosophy, and through scouting, the draft and player acquisitions, has continued to add key players to the roster to keep us in contention year in and year out."
During the 11 years O'Connor has been the team's general manager, the Jazz have compiled a 514-338 record (.570) and have won three division titles. Utah has finished with a .500 or better record 10 times and been to the playoffs eight times during O'Connor's tenure.
"I am very appreciative of the loyalty that the Miller family has shown to me," said O'Connor. "I am happy to continue to be a part of the Jazz organization and look forward to the challenges ahead."
Also, to no one's surprise, the Jazz announced that head coach Jerry Sloan has confirmed that he will return for his 23rd season, leading the team into the 2010-11 season.
Sloan has been Utah's head coach since Frank Layden resigned in December 1988. The fourth-winningest coach in NBA history (1,190-780, .604), Sloan is the longest-tenured active coach with one team in major U.S. professional sports, as well as the longest-tenured head coach in NBA history.
"I have always been thankful to the Miller family for their loyalty and support over the last 20-plus years," said Sloan. "I appreciate the opportunities that have been provided to me and look forward to returning for the 2010-11 season."
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