It's official: Legendary Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan announced his resignation Thursday. What remains unclear is why exactly he quit in the middle of the season, just days after signing a one-year contract extension.
Things came to a head during a Wednesday loss to the Chicago Bulls, when Williams called a play on the floor that was different from the one Sloan called from the sideline. Sloan and Williams had a verbal dispute during halftime of that game, followed by a closed-door meeting between Sloan and Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor after the game.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, a frustrated Sloan gave O'Connor an ultimatum of sorts: "me or him." The Jazz chose Williams, and Sloan resigned the next day.
"Sources said there has been a growing feeling within the organization that Williams would leave Utah following the 2011-12 season if Sloan did not step down," Smith wrote. "One stated the divide as being as simple as 'either Jerry goes or D-Will goes.'"
Could you imagine if LeBron James did this?
James has been villified by fans and the media for stringing along the Cleveland Cavaliers during last year's free agency period, all the more so for allegedly quitting on his team during the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston in 2010. But James never forced an iconic coach into an early retirement.
Williams will be a free agent after this season, and he has been rumored to be seeking a similar "Big Three" situation as James found in Miami. If Williams can pull off that feat, will he be seen as much of villain as LeBron, history as a coach killer notwithstanding? Even if he cannot, isn't Williams more of a villain than LeBron already?
David Hill is a Miami native and former owner of a youth replica Rony Seikaly jersey.