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Jerry Sloan Retires As Jazz Coach, How Does This Affect The Suns?

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First off, wow. It is hard to imagine the NBA without Jerry Sloan coaching for the Utah Jazz. It's been 23 years and now, suddenly, he's gone. Poof, just like that. No more Jerry Sloan on the sideline of an NBA court and the first team to face the Jazz without Sloan is the Phoenix Suns on Friday.

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We'll leave it to others closer to the situation to speculate on why Sloan is leaving now, in the middle of the season. It's hard to imagine JERRY SLOAN giving up just because his team is in a slump (four wins over last ten games).

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In his press conference, Sloan was vague about the reasons for his sudden departure, merely citing low energy and a feeling that it was time to go. 

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But why now, Jerry? Why now?

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With talk that Sloan had "lost his team" or was forced out by Deron Williams in a "he goes, or I go" moment, it will be very interesting to see how the Jazz team reacts when they next take the court. And that next game is Friday, in Salt Lake City, against the Phoenix Suns.

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Often when a coach leaves, the team responds with a boost in energy and spirit as if a weight has been lifted. When Larry Brown was replaced by Paul Silas in Charlotte, the Bobcats went on a run. 

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Normally, that's understandable and acceptable. But if this Jazz team comes out with that kind of resolve, you have to think it reflects poorly on their ability to be coached by one of the greatest coaches in NBA history.

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At the same time, would Jerry Sloan expect or want his guys to mourn his departure and play with heavy hearts? No.

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We will get a glimpse of what comes next for the Jazz on Friday and then again on Tuesday when the two teams play a second time in Phoenix. 

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How the Jazz players react is more than just a curiosity for the Suns. At 31-23, the Jazz are in sixth place in the West, but only a few games ahead of the 24-25 Suns in the loss column.

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The Jazz wouldn't have to fall far to be out of the playoffs and, while the Suns players and coaches certainly respect Jerry Sloan, they won't hesitate to take advantage of an opportunity. Jerry Sloan would have it no other way.