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Deron Williams: Was the Jazz PG the Sole Cause for Jerry Sloan's Retirement?

HOUSTON - MAY 5:  Head coach Jerry Sloan talks with Deron Williams #8 of the Utah Jazz in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2007 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center May 5, 2007 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ryan RosenburgCorrespondent IFebruary 12, 2011

Following Jerry Sloan's abrupt resignation on Thursday, the rumor's are swirling regarding the circumstances that caused the Hall of Fame coach to call it quits. 

On the surface it would appear that a reported locker room argument between Sloan and Jazz star point guard Deron Williams was the straw the broke the camel's back.  Sure, coaching young talent in the NBA at the age of 68 is an undoubtedly trying task, but are we to believe that Sloan was willing to walk away over one player after 23 memorable years in Utah?

In a pre-game interview before the Jazz's Friday matchup with the Phoenix Suns, Williams admitted that there had been a locker room altercation between himself and the legendary Jazz leader, but insisted that it was no different than any other spat that the two had endured throughout the time they have spent together. 

Williams ruled out any reports of physical interaction, like anybody thought he would lay a hand on Sloan who is old enough to be the young guard's grandfather. 

What, then, was different about this situation that caused the immediate change of heart for Sloan after over two decades of putting up with various player's shenanigans? Especially when his team is right in the heart of the Western Conference playoff race, currently sitting in the seventh position.

Sloan has already received immense verbal support from past Hall of Fame players John Stockton and Karl Malone, among others, regarding the situation.  Sloan went about his job with the utmost dignity for so long that nearly everyone he has interacted with in his time with the Jazz appears to stand behind him whole-heartedly in his decision. 

While many of the details remain unclear at this time it is a certainty that further insight on the situations leading up to Sloan's resignation will be unearthed in the next couple of weeks. 

In the meantime, the Jazz will play under former assistant and freshly named head coach Tyrone Corbin who will see his first opportunity as a head man in the NBA in the wake of Sloan's retirement. 

Corbin's clear lack of experience will surely allow more freedom to the Jazz players, many of which who have never played in a game without Sloan instructing them from the sideline. 

The transition will be a unique changeover to witness, as Sloan was the longest tenured coach in major professional sports, and it's not every day that a brand new coach takes over a playoff caliber team over halfway through a season.

Did Williams and some of the Jazz players really wish to see Sloan leave?  Will the Jazz be able to continue to perform at the same level which has earned them numerous playoff berths over Sloan's tenure?  Will Tyrone Corbin remain the head coach of the team heading into the final stretch of the season even if they begin to slide in the Western Conference standings? 

These are just a few of the many questions that remain to be answered, but judging from the boos of the Jazz fans following a comeback win by Phoenix over the Utah in their first game sans Sloan, it is clear that they will want answers, and want them soon.

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