SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz boss Greg Miller held no punches while taking written swipes at outspoken Karl Malone and defending his family and franchise this weekend.
The Mailman started this latest Miller-Malone spat — something familiar in Jazzland when the late Larry H. Miller occasionally feuded with the power forward over contracts — when he recently went on 1280 The Zone and railed on the Jazz front office.
In his interview, Malone revealed, among other things, that he bought tickets from a scalper to attend the first post-Jerry Sloan game following the Hall of Fame coach's sudden resignation last February. It's been reported that Malone wasn't able to get tickets (or at least not ones to his liking) because the arena was sold out.
Miller, who also objected to Malone's portrayal that Jazz management backed Deron Williams instead of Sloan, went on the offensive via social media Friday night.
"Hey Karl — you're lying," Miller wrote on his personal Twitter account (@GregInUtah). "You have my number. Next time you need a seat to a Jazz game call me. You can have mine."
That was just the warm-up act.
Hours later, the Jazz CEO posted a detailed, caustic blog post at greginutah.com. Among the highlights (or lowlights, depending on your point of view):
— Miller wrote that Malone "crossed a line" by the way he portrayed his treatment by the Jazz at that game last year. "I can no longer afford to sit back and let Karl make comments that are factually inaccurate without defending the franchise and our family."
— Miller reflected on Malone's Hall of Fame career and benevolent acts, calling him a "warrior" and an "extremely generous person."
— Miller said Malone was and remains "high-maintenance," and referred to his father being forced to rip up six contracts "because Karl kept demanding more" and the "benefits were clearly there" because of night-in-night-out 25-point, 10-rebound efforts.
"The fact is Karl is still as high-maintenance as he ever was," Miller wrote, "but now he has nothing to offer to offset the grief and aggravation that comes with him."
— Miller continued: "I've tried to keep in mind the words of one of my mentors close to the situation who said 'Karl Malone is (a) giant pain in the (rear), but he's our pain in the (rear).'"
— Miller said he wouldn't hire Malone as a Jazz coach, calling him "too unreliable and too unstable." He provided examples of canceled lunches and a late appearance to an autograph signing. He also explained to Malone that talking about wanting to be traded from Utah on radio directly affected car sales.
— Miller claimed Malone "made an already stressful situation worse" by showing up to the first post-Sloan Jazz game in Utah — after buying scalped tickets — and claiming that the Hall of Fame coach wasn't a quitter and resigned because he didn't feel wanted.
"These are just a few experiences I've had with Karl that clearly demonstrate that he can't be counted on," Miller continued. "I am not willing to invite the elements of unreliability and instability into the Jazz organization. It would obviously do more harm than good."
Miller wrapped up the blog explaining that Malone has always been welcomed back as a Jazz alumnus and has been treated with respect and care. Miller wondered how their relationship "became so sour" and invited the Mailman to mend fences, return to Jazz games and become an ambassador for the organization.
Reached by phone Saturday, Karl Malone was asked whether Sloan lacked support from management that night in the locker room in 2011.
"The only thing I can tell you is that's great. But there's nothing that can be said or done to hurt my relationship with Jerry Sloan," Malone said. "That's just the way it is. That's awesome. But when I feel a certain way about a friend, Jerry and Karl is a friendship to the end, not just lip service."
Continued Malone: "When I'm a friend, and there aren't many of them, I make a commitment to be a friend to the end of time. There's nothing you can do or say to keep it from going there. You don't need to fix nothing."
Current Jazz members wanted to distance themselves from the controversy.
"It has nothing to do with us," Jazz forward Paul Millsap said, adding that he never talks to his fellow Louisiana Tech product.
"You've got to talk to them about that. I have no comment," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "That's Greg and Karl."
Corbin said he hoped his players wouldn't let the well-publicized dispute bother them.
"It's a part of our family. It's a part of who we are. You just deal with it and move forward," Corbin said. "Hopefully, they get past it as soon as they can so we can go back and play ball. … It could be a distraction. Hopefully, we won't let it be."
Corbin said Miller didn't pressure or advise him to avoid hiring Malone as an assistant coach — something the Mailman has said he'd consider.
"It had nothing to do with it," said Corbin, who added Sidney Lowe (assistant) and Michael Sanders (player development) to his staff in the offseason.
Contributing: Brad Rock
Twitter: DJJazzyJody Blog: jazzland.blogs.deseretnews.com
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