Tomasson: Jerry Sloan confirms meeting with Bucks
Is Jerry Sloan a realistic possibility to coach the Bucks next season? Fox Sports' Chris Tomasson spoke to the former Jazz coach aboutthe Bucks' reported interest, with Sloan confirming that the Bucks' brass had indeed met with him:
Jerry Sloan said Monday that Milwaukee general manager John Hammond and Bucks executives Jeff Weltman and Billy McKinney all came down last week to his farm in Southern Illinois.
"They came down. I was in Illinois. I’m back in Utah now,’’ said Sloan, who splits his time between his farm in Southern Illinois. "But I wouldn’t want to make any other comment.’’
Asked if he believes he’s seriously in the mix for the job, Sloan said, "You’d have to ask them (the Bucks).’’
Sloan reiterated what he told FOX Sports Florida earlier this month, that he continues to have interest in getting back into coaching.
"I do if the situation is right,’’ said Sloan, 71, who hasn’t coached since resigning from Utah in February 2011.
Sloan indicated previously that he would listen if the Nets called about their open position, but he also told Tomasson that he hadn't actually spoken to any teams other than the Bucks at this point.
Now whether all this should be interpreted as Sloan having the inside edge for the Bucks' gig is open to interpretation, but he's certainly the most intriguing option currently available. While his coaching resume speaks for itself, the 71-year-old Sloan has been out of the game for two years and it's understandable to wonder whether he's still capable of turning the tide for a long-suffering franchise such as the Bucks. Older coaches such as Sloan have not surprisingly had mixed success in recent years: the Bobcats were actually pretty solid for a year under Larry Brown (44 wins in 10/11 as a 69-year-old), but he was gone 28 games into the following season, and Charlotte quickly reversed course and started a full-out rebuild shortly thereafter. Going back further, Hubie Brown turned Memphis from a 28-win also-ran into a 50-game winner in the course of a single season, but like Brown he didn't make it through a third season.
All of which serves to underscore the obvious tension at play: it's likely that Sloan can still do a more than capable job coaching an NBA basketball team, but the question is how long he would last doing it. Given Herb Kohl's perpetual need to win right now, Sloan's ability to bring an immediate credibility both on the court and off it would clearly be a big draw for a Bucks team in need of both. You can imagine Sloan isn't chomping at the bit to take over a team looking to start a multi-year rebuild, but there's also no indication the Bucks are looking to do that in spite of the significant uncertainty surrounding the roster at the moment. Sloan also has experience meshing young and old talents while continuing to win games, which is basically what the Bucks would be asking him to do. And If you're trying to win now, you might as well be coached by an actual winner, right? The issue of how you sustain that and also win later is far less clear, though that's hardly just an issue related to coaching. Any coach who comes in will try to do their best to win games with the talent on hand--that's what coaches do. It's up to John Hammond and company to add enough talent to even give the Bucks a chance at being relevant in the longer term, and at the end of the day a coach can only do so much. But while Sloan won't make the Bucks contenders on his own, he doesn't need to win 55 games for fans to feel like the franchise is heading in the right direction.
So as weird as it might seem for Sloan to come out of retirement to coach in Milwaukee, his reported preference for a small market, the input he would presumably have in roster decisions and the price the Bucks would likely be willing to pay makes it a bit more understandable. I'd still guess this is much more a question of whether Sloan wants the job rather than whether the Bucks want to give it to him, but the circumstantial evidence suggests this could actually happen. For a franchise that's lost the benefit of the doubt with many fans, the Bucks are desperate for something fans can agree on. They need a win right now, and on paper at least Sloan would certainly fit the bill.
JS: Bucks interview Lakers' Steve Clifford
As previously noted, Sloan is one of a number of candidates in the mix for the Bucks' job, with Laker assistant Steve Clifford the latest assistant to interview.
Last week Bucks officials interviewed former Portland and Seattle coach Nate McMillan, former Bucks assistant and current Houston Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson and Rockets assistant J.B. Bickerstaff.
The Bucks' coaching search is still considered in the early stages.
"We continue to do our due diligence," Bucks general manager John Hammond said of the team's coaching search.
The Bucks are searching for a coach who will relate to the team's young roster but also will maintain discipline and a professional approach.
FS Wisconsin: Bucks' coaching change helped Ilyasova settle in
There was at least one clear positive that came from Jim Boylan's 50-game stint as Bucks head coach: Ersan Ilyasova got his groove back. Andrew Gruman's latest:
"I will say it's also about the team chemistry," Ilyasova said as to what happened at the end of the season. "We kind of started more pointing to each other. We couldn't come up together as a team and we kind of started (coming) apart a little bit. It's really frustrating because when you look at it, it's a long season and everybody tried to reach our goal as an NBA playoff team and we secured that spot and everybody started thinking about what we were going to do in the playoffs. At that time we had 10 games left and you just have to play. If we win a couple of those close games we can be in the seventh spot."