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Utah Jazz: Kevin O'Connor glad Jerry Sloan will return

Published: Sunday, Aug. 30 2015 6:30 p.m. MDT

Kevin O'Connor, right, and Jerry Sloan have agreed to a contract extension for the longtime Jazz coach. (Michael Brandy, Deseret News archives) Kevin O'Connor, right, and Jerry Sloan have agreed to a contract extension for the longtime Jazz coach. (Michael Brandy, Deseret News archives)

SALT LAKE CITY — Nothing has been signed, yet, to make it official.

But longtime Jazz coach Jerry Sloan made it known over the weekend that he's agreed to have his contract extended for one more season beyond the current one, and that sits quite well with general manager Kevin O'Connor.

"We're in that position to where we've talked to him about it," O'Connor said Friday.

"We're gonna go into some uncertain times after the season (with the current collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and its players association soon expiring)," he added, "so we want to have some certainty as far as the coach goes."

And there is no fixture currently coaching in Utah who is more established than Sloan, now in his 23rd season in charge of the Jazz.

He now intends to make it 24, barring a change of mind next offseason, and formalization of those plans — replete with signing of the extension — could happen sometime in the next several weeks.

For now, O'Connor is content to know that Sloan — even at age 68 — still is going strong.

"I think he's kind of young," the Jazz GM said. "Look at Joe Paterno. He's (83)."

Paterno notched his 400th college football coaching victory when his Penn State Nittany Lions beat Northwestern last Saturday. Sloan has 1,193 NBA coaching wins heading into tonight's game at Miami, leaving him 18 short of third place on the league's all-time list.

Beyond age matters, O'Connor sees a vibrant Sloan who seemingly can keep going and going.

"He's taken care of himself physically. He still enjoys it," O'Connor said. "The best fun I have watching him coach is when we have summer league — he gets out there and really gets into digging down and coaching the game of basketball.

"He seems to enjoy that, and seems to be able to get his batteries recharged every offseason."

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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