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Jerry Sloan’s old-school thoughts on Miami’s trio

Dec 7, 2010, 4:14 PM EDT

Image (1) nba_sloan.jpg for post 1640 AP

Utah coach Jerry Sloan is decidedly old school. Not like Run DMC is old school, I mean more like Sinatra old school

Tough minded. Loyal. Movement off the ball not just isolation plays. No free layups. All of that in a good way. But that means sometimes he doesn’t mix as well with the new fangled things in the world. Like I feel pretty safe he is not going to log on and read this.

The Miami Heat’s moves this summer — call them the “super friends” or the “big three” or “three’s company,” I’ve stopped trying to figure it out — are decidedly new school. So when the Salt Lake Tribune asked about it and if Sloan in his playing days as a Bull would have done something like this, he gave an honest and straight forward answer.

“The way I was brought up and the way I played, that’s kind of what I thought. You stick together even though things aren’t good. That’s kind of like life: We don’t always get what we want, and you have to stick to it. Those are great lessons. Although, there’s so much money involved now I guess you have to go for the money. I never wanted to be traded when I was in Chicago. I never wanted to be fired when I was in Chicago. [Laughs] Those things happen. I’ve always been taught to stick it out when things are tough and that sort of thing. But I don’t know who’s right and wrong. You can argue that until the cows come home…

“I’m not sure a lot of those [old] guys would have done that. I think everybody kind of had their area to work in and felt comfortable trying to prove they could win where they were. And Jerry West, he never made a championship trophy for a long time. They added a couple of more guys, Wilt, a couple more guys to their team that made them very good. But I don’t think I would have seen him wonder, say ‘Do I have to go play with another team?’

“I think it’s an individual thing. You’re usually talking about guys that are pretty competitive, whoever they are, whoever it would be. Jabbar he left and went to L.A., whenever he was playing up in Milwaukee. I don’t know how it actually all works out. It’s hard to say what guys have got inside them.”

To me Sloan hits on the two key things. First, people are different and make different decisions and isn’t that supposed to be one of the reasons we all love America?

Second, the money changes everything. The free agency rules changed everything. LeBron’s choices were contextually different than what Magic or Bird or Jordan or West or Russell or any of them faced. That doesn’t make his decision the right one, it makes it different. And to say what you would or would not have done is to inject the context of your bygone era on LeBron and his choices.

  1. d57fan - Dec 7, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    blah blah blah blah BLAH! How much more of this do we have to take?? It’s over, people don’t much like the Heat, big deal…these incessant articles aren’t gong to change that…and neither will winning. The Heat winning and show-boating will make people outside Miami hate them even MORE.

    • thestudiokida - Dec 7, 2010 at 6:23 PM

      I don’t agree. Winning is exactly what will make them more popular.

  2. delfi2 - Dec 7, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    Money changes everything? All three took less money to be in Miami together. How do you justify that statement? Endorsements? He (LeBron) could have been the ‘king’ of marketing in NY, no? That’s what all the pundits were saying anyhow.

    Moreover, Jerry Sloan speaks in cirlces without identifying crap…coach talk. Grappling the fence while trying to make a point, I guess about how LeBron left C-town. Pathetic, thought Sloan was above the popular stance about this subject. Nonetheless, Lebron will not put you on his ‘list’.!!
    Perfect timing too, right before they travel to Utah for a tilt!! Haha—smart coach? Or another blow hard?
    -Mike D (Davie, Fl) —if you had any doubts….

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 7, 2010 at 11:35 PM

      What I’m saying is that the money and rules are different now for LeBron than they were for Jerry West or even large parts of Jordan’s career. The money is different for players. That changes the dynamics of decisions.

      • delfi2 - Dec 8, 2010 at 10:21 AM

        Okay, I will agree with you there. However, do you think all three joined the Heat for….what?

        Thank you for your response, Kurt.

    • tubal22 - Dec 8, 2010 at 3:28 AM

      All three of them will end up making more because there is no income tax in Florida. This crap that they made a sacrifice is some media BS. They get paid more, they party more, they take a few years off and rack up the championship rings (they thought).

      • hnirobert3 - Dec 8, 2010 at 12:17 PM

        You think so? Do you think Dwight Howard is going to take a little less than the max to stay in Florida because of no state tax? You’re kidding yourself if you think so. These guys took less money to get on the same team as well as be able to afford a few other pieces (specifically Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem). SI has a pretty interested article on the Heat’s role players and how things went down with putting the team together. Here is the excerpt of how they got Haslem and Miller on the team.

        “With James and Bosh on the way last summer, Haslem assumed that the Heat had run out of cap space for him. He went to his exit meeting at American Airlines Arena in the second week of July and told Riley that he was accepting a five-year, $34 million contract from the Nuggets. Riley asked Haslem to leave the room, and in the hour that followed, Wade volunteered to shave part of his salary for Haslem, then persuaded James and Bosh to do the same. They needed Haslem as a leader, a rebounder and also a recruiter. Haslem accepted a five-year deal for $20 million and then persuaded Miller, his Florida roommate who had never been past the first round of the playoffs, to join Miami as a free agent for $30 million over five years.”

        These guys are sooooo selfish.

      • hnirobert3 - Dec 8, 2010 at 12:34 PM

        One last thought… do you think Carl Crawford would consider a lesser offer from the Tampa Bay Rays because Florida has no state tax? Do you think Karlos Danbsy and Brandon Marshall would have accepted lesser deals from the Dolphins because of no state tax?

        Yes, it’s an added bonus and helps with taking a lesser offer, but these guys undeniably took less money for the betterment of the team, not because they’d make it all back with no state tax. If that was the case, Lebron would’ve gone to Dallas and Bosh to Houston since they would’ve been offered max deals (Dallas would’ve needed to do a sign and trade) and still gotten the no state tax benefit.

  3. passerby23 - Dec 7, 2010 at 11:09 PM

    I’ve got to agree with Sloan on this one. Even if they win three or four championships, it’ll always be “well, that’s what they should’ve done.” If they lose, they’re the goats. There is a certain value to appreciate for sticking it out even if things don’t go your way and being loyal to a franchise. Lebron still held the ability to attract big names to Cleveland. It seems today if players don’t win a championship in a few years, they’re out. I think the reality is Lebron didn’t want to look like a playoff failure any longer after two disappointing playoff exits when they were favored to win.

    • hnirobert3 - Dec 8, 2010 at 12:08 PM

      LBJ said it best, he didn’t want to be in his 30’s with no championships and bad knees. Look at the Cavs now. They’re terrible. Look at the Lakers and take away Kobe. Are they winning a Championship? Probably not, but they’re still a playoff team and probably getting to the second round if not the Western Conference Finals. Take away one of the Celts’ big 3 (or big 4, since Rondo’s a beast) and they’re still contenting in the playoffs. The Cavs, without Lebron, are a complete joke and the pieces they put around LBJ were bad. Period. End of story.

  4. habibthomas - Dec 8, 2010 at 2:15 AM

    Lebron could have won with the Cavs. It wasnt as if when he was with the Cavs that the had the worst record every year, they were one of the top teams. The Cavs squad we see today is basically the same team (almost sans Lebron) that went to the Finals years back. So if he left because he thought he couldnt win then he was looking for an easier route, but he if he doesnt win in Miami then what?

    • hnirobert3 - Dec 8, 2010 at 12:04 PM

      Then his legacy is tarnished FOR-EVER (said like the kid from the Sandlot).





  5. truprof - Dec 8, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    Jerry Sloan has the credibility to say what he thinks. He’s been there and done that as a player and as a coach. If people disagree, let them check their cred against his.

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