ORLANDO — The fate of Gordan Giricek's future with the Jazz remains in limbo.

Much clearer, however, is a picture of just what preceded Giricek being ordered to the locker room during the second quarter of Utah's loss at Charlotte on Wednesday night and his subsequent banishment from the team.

According to accounts from some who heard a timeout exchange between the reserve shooting guard and Jerry Sloan, the Jazz coach first told the veteran from Croatia that he needed to pass the ball inside.

Giricek answered, "OK," to which Sloan purportedly replied, "Now go sit at the end of the bench and b----."

Said Sloan: "I told him to go sit down and put his butt on the bench."

The remark, whatever it precisely was, infuriated longtime Sloan punching-bag Giricek. He responded with an oral retort, albeit supposedly without swearing at the longtime Jazz coach or raising his voice.

Sloan also confirmed the initial remark about making the entry pass, but didn't elaborate otherwise.

"I mentioned something to him about that," he said, "but I'm not gonna get into all that Mickey Mouse stuff. It doesn't do any good at this point."

Sloan — his team in town tonight to face the Orlando Magic, with Walt Disney's omnipresent spirit of here perhaps inspiring his pre-practice quote Thursday — evidently confronted Giricek a second time during halftime.

When Giricek asked to respond, he apparently got tossed out of the locker room.

After the game — the 14-13 Jazz's seventh straight road loss — trainer Gary Briggs told Giricek to retrieve his belongings and return to Utah rather than continue on with the team to Florida for stop No. 3 on a four-game Eastern swing.

After conferring by telephone with his agent, Marc Fleisher, Giricek complied.

"I can only speculate that Jerry (Sloan) is frustrated with the team's performance," Fleisher said Thursday, "and Giri bore the brunt of that."

Sloan — who has a history of similar confrontations with players over his 20-season coaching career in Utah, including, but not limited to, Greg Ostertag, John Amaechi and current Magic point guard Carlos Arroyo — didn't deny that Thursday.

"I'm sure that probably has something to do with everything," he said. "Usually when you lose, that's what happens. But I'm not frustrated as far as playing, if we play hard. I get frustrated when we don't play hard."

Asked if the Jazz played hard in Charlotte, where they blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead, Sloan said, "I thought we had our moments where we did. Yeah, we played pretty hard. I thought we played hard. Because we were trying hard down the stretch, as I (said Wednesday night). I went back and looked at the film. I thought we were trying. We made some mistakes, and they were anxious mistakes."

Anxiety, meanwhile, hovers over Giricek's future in Utah.

Jazz management on Thursday said no decision has been made regarding the status of the former member of the Magic who was acquired via trade with Orlando in 2004.

"Basically where it's at is we didn't come to any conclusions," general manager Kevin O'Connor said Thursday night. "So I don't have an answer.

"I think we'll work to make a decision," he added, "but I don't know what decision will be made, if there is one."

Reiterating comments made earlier Thursday by Jazz owner Larry H. Miller, O'Connor also said, "We just want to take a deep breath and see what's going on."

Said Sloan: "I don't have a problem with whatever transpires. One way or the other. I'll move on down the road. I've been through too many of these rodeos."

Asked how tough it was to send someone home from the road, Sloan said, "It's just a decision you sometimes make. It's something I did."

O'Connor wouldn't say if Giricek was still being paid, but Jazz history in such situations is to not fine players who are suspended and/or ordered to spend some time away from the team.

Asked about Giricek's future, Fleisher — whose client is in the final season of a four-year, $16-million deal with the Jazz, and previously has privately expressed to Jazz brass his desire to leave Utah — seemed uncertain.

"That's really more a question for them than it is for us," said Fleisher, who also represents two Jazz high-profile starters, small forward Andrei Kirilenko and injured center Mehmet Okur. "Giri reiterated (Wednesday) night that he likes his team, he likes his teammates, he is very happy living in Salt Lake City.

"He sees a role for himself on the team, but he is frustrated and has had a difficult time understanding what Jerry wants from him," Fleisher added. "And this is not a new problem. It's gone on for a while. But he's adamant he did nothing wrong, and nothing to provoke this."

Three times Wednesday night, Giricek said, "I didn't do anything wrong."

Jazz teammates, meanwhile, spent Thursday trying to focus on the Magic.

"Of course it's (upsetting) to see one of your teammates go to the locker room and have this kind of situation," Kirilenko said.

Asked if what happened to Giricek was fair, however, Kirilenko — who also has had his share of frustrations with Sloan — offered a curt "no comment."


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