Utah Jazz owner and CEO Greg Miller sent a tweet and wrote a blog post Friday night in response to Karl Malone, calling the franchise legend a liar.
Malone, a Hall of Fame player, co-hosted a radio show recently and took the Jazz to task. The former 14-time All-Star with the Jazz ripped the organization’s handling of long-time coach Jerry Sloan, who stepped down last season after getting into an argument with star point guard Deron Williams.
“On the whole handling of that, I would have to give [them] a D or F, and I would lean more toward an F,” Malone said. “I know for a fact that [Sloan] was overridden on practices sometime on the road because Deron was calling our G.M. at that time … You give a guy that much power, and he’s the kind of player you think he played hard all the time, but if he wanted to sulk he could sulk. … I never went to Larry [Miller] to talk about Coach Sloan. … It’s not one time, in my gut and heart, that I would go over his head.”
Malone said he went to Utah to express concern and had to buy a ticket to a Jazz game from a scalper after being told by the team there weren’t any tickets available to him. Miller denies that was the case. He sent a tweet Friday night saying Malone was lying:
Miller went into further detail in a blog post on Friday night where he said Malone was too unreliable and unstable to help coach the team’s big men.
Calling Malone a hard worker and extremely generous, Miller said “The fact is Karl is still as high-maintenance as he ever was, but now he has nothing to offer to offset the grief and aggravation that comes with him.”
Miller cited several incidents where Malone flaked on appointments with him. He says that the Mailman was wrong about Jerry Sloan, arguing that the organization tried to talk the coach into remaining with the team instead of suddenly stepping down. He also tried to smooth things over with Malone.
“Karl has been welcome at Jazz games since he retired — not just as a guest but as an insider, as alumni,” Miller wrote. “Jazz staffers and management have gone above and beyond to show him respect and take care of him and his family.
“Karl, I’m not sure where or how our relationship became so sour. I wish it was otherwise. I’m sorry if I’ve offended you in any way. I’d love to do whatever I can to mend the fence and make you feel welcome at Jazz games. I would love to have you as an ambassador for the Utah Jazz. You have a standing invitation to do both.”
UPDATE: Both Jerry Sloan and Karl Malone have responded.
Sloan issued a statement about his departure from the Jazz, saying “I left on my own volition. It is not true that the Millers undermined my authority as head coach. I had their complete backing to run the team as I wished and was assured that no player could ever overrule my decisions. The Millers encouraged me to stay with the team and gave me multiple opportunities to do so. They felt strongly that I should wait at least until the end of the season to resign and did everything they could to keep me coaching.
“I do not wish to make any further statements regarding this issue. It is time for me and my family to move on and I ask that the media respect my wishes and respect the integrity of the Miller family and all that they have done for the Utah Jazz and this community.”
Malone contacted The Salt Lake Tribune to say he was standing by his comments. He also had a message for Miller.
“We’ve all become very brave when we’re tweeting, texting, blogging. We just write and press send. I don’t have time for that,” Malone said.
“Don’t tweet it, don’t blog it, don’t text it, give me a little human element. … I’m in town two or three times a month. Until I see him face to face, there won’t be any more comment about Greg Miller. … He’ll see me again.”Google+