Uncertain offseason awaits Jazz
The NBA could spend years saying goodbye to
There are a couple of months' worth of riffs on his unbridled emotions alone, the way Miller would publicly air out
But it's time to get impersonal. Miller is, unfortunately, gone. The Jazz blew the end of the regular season and tumbled into the No. 8 spot in the West and the dreaded Lakers matchup. They were down 2-1 after Thursday's home victory and staring at a fast-approaching summer vacation that could include the departure of at least one major free agent and coach
These months are the Jazz at the intersection. Not at the historic level of 2003 and the departure of
"I'm completely committed to carrying on those things," Greg Miller said in an interview this week.
The interpretation on several fronts:
• He's hoping Sloan will stay. No surprise. Larry understood Sloan and the coach's famous job insecurity and made it a policy to ideally avoid having Sloan enter the final season of a contract. There would always be an extension before that. And since Sloan is still his usual grumbling great self, and was just elected to the Hall of Fame, the new owner said Jerry should feel just as wanted.
But Sloan for several years has waited until the offseason to decide if he had another season in him, and this time will be no different even though he agreed to an extension in January. As always, it's impossible to detect a leaning, only that he will consider retiring to a farmer's life in downstate Illinois. Maybe making the Hall and the change in ownership will be read as the right time to break. Maybe not. There were years Larry thought Sloan would call it quits and it didn't happen, so good luck at anyone else guessing.
• There is little chance the Jazz will re-sign both
Miller did not want to discuss specific players with the season still going but confirmed it is unlikely Boozer and Millsap will both get jackpot deals to stay.
"If you just do the math on a cursory level, it's obvious that puts us into the luxury-tax level," he said. "And that's a place we're not comfortable going."
One area that's difficult to interpret: Sloan's successor, if the call has to be made this summer. Larry Miller had long stated that top assistant
So in Greg Miller's first offseason as boss he may have to deal with only ... everything. One of the prevailing messages he got from his dad in the final year of Larry's life was, "It's your turn now," a call to make the decisions that make sense and not the ones Larry would have wanted. These are Greg's calls now.
As he said with his team in the playoffs and a potential flurry of major calls ahead: "I do feel a higher sense of -- what's the word? -- being watched."
Good choice of words.
USA Basketball boss
Colangelo, though, is encouraging Coach K to wait at least a few months before making a firm commitment. As there is no tournament this summer, there is no rush. Colangelo wants Krzyzewski to make sure he's up for another long haul while also balancing family and that Duke thing that's not exactly part-time work.
"His gut is, 'Let's do it,' " Colangelo said. "That's the way we all are. But you need to take a step back and look at the ramifications."
If Krzyzewski unexpectedly declines, either
In the meantime, the closest thing to pressing business for Team USA is preparing for a July minicamp in Las Vegas of young players considered to have the best chance of making the team for the world championships. Among the interesting invitations:
• This is the week that makes the
• Most Improved Player is a great debate.
• The stars of the Warriors season were the fans who had no reason to continue to pack Oracle Arena but did anyway. Bad team, horrible Northern California economy, the presence of NFL clubs, two in Major League Baseball, one in the NHL and two Pac-10 Conference schools in a fight for the entertainment dollar, and Golden State still finished ninth in attendance. The Knicks (seventh) were the only lottery team that did better, except that New York went from 23 to 32 wins and had new energy with new coach D'Antoni and new president
• All anyone needs to know about