In a recent Fox Sports feature on former Utah Jazz head coach and NBA coaching legend Jerry Sloan, the Hall of Famer said that he does not only have interest in the Orlando Magic coaching vacancy. No, he also has interest in another gig in the Eastern Conference's Southeast division, and not one that people may think - yes, our own very Charlotte Bobcats.
Sloan, who has a 1,221-803 career NBA coaching mark over 26 overall seasons, said he has not heard anything yet from the Magic. He also said he has interest in the Charlotte job, but hasn't heard from the Bobcats.
"It's not always about starting at the top,'' Sloan, 70, said when asked if he really would interested in a rebuilding situation such as the one with Bobcats, whose 7-59 record resulted in the worst winning percentage in NBA history (.106).
Intriguing, to say the least.
The Bobcats have had one of the select few Hall of Fame coaches manning the squad already in recent history with Larry Brown. Brown, another hard-nosed basketball-addicted coach, crammed himself into the organization's doghouse by losing his players' trust and immensely weakening the partnership he had formed with them in the previous season when he molded them into a defensive juggernaut. But Brown is a man of an ever-wandering eye, constantly losing interest in where he is presently and keeping one eye open from coast to coast for the next opening.
On the other hand, Jerry Sloan was nothing but an example of stability. Year in and year out, the Jazz became perennial contenders. Sloan was the man at the helm, trouncing much of the Western Conference on the shoulders of Karl Malone and John Stockton. Twice he helped take them to the NBA Finals, ultimately losing both times to Michael Jordan's 1997 and 1998 Chicago Bulls. The Jazz would weaken, as age often curdles the strongest of players. But they hit it big in the NBA Draft in 2005, grabbing Deron Williams. This new core of Williams and Carlos Boozer would lift the Jazz back into playoff contention, but they never could get past the Western Conference Finals again.
Until Sloan's resignation, he had been a rock in the NBA community. He's 70 years old now, and it's still hard to believe he's not on the sidelines with Phil Johnson. He's a relic of the old NBA culture, but not one that's stuck in his ways strategically, as Larry Brown often was. His offense relies on ball movement, with a basis in the flex offense style in which players don't always stick to their conventional roles. Big men can pass, small guys can screen. It's an offense based on making reads. So it's not always the easiest system for players pick up.
Even with this adjustment difficulty, I can't understand why the Bobcats haven't contacted Sloan. He's a magnificent teacher. Even with age concerns, the average coaching tenure is about three years. Why not at the least consider having one of the greats bring in his no-nonsense style and system that forces players to read defenses better? And he has interest in coaching the team as is. If the Bobcats are lucky enough to win the first overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft lottery, that would make the job more attractive. But if a Hall of Famer like Sloan is willing to take upon the massive weight of bringing the Bobcats up from the dregs of the league, he deserves some consideration.
What do you think?