Utah Jazz: Bulls' visit evokes memories of Sloan's resignation
Carlos Boozer's return was the big storyline last time the Chicago Bulls were in town, too. Didn't last very long that time.
Saturday marks two years since the Bulls defeated the Jazz in Salt Lake City, setting off a firestorm within the organization and culminating with the resignation of Jerry Sloan and trade of Deron Williams.
Two years ago Saturday, Tyrone Corbin became the head coach of the Jazz.
"It's gone by fast," Corbin said. "It's been a lot of experiences and a lot of growth on my behalf and a lot of growth on the coaching staff's behalf, a lot of growth on these players' behalf the last couple of years."
Corbin entered Friday's game with the Bulls, the first time they'd been back since 2010, with an even 72-72 record.
How have the Jazz grown in that time? What's changed?
"Around that time," Paul Millsap said, "it seemed like everything was falling apart. Collectively, as a group, we kind of picked it back up and worked hard to get back where we are right now."
Corbin said before the game that there has been no moment in which he first felt comfortable as a head coach, rather "it's just the experiences of every night you're in it. ... You get past the comparisons to what it was like and to what it is now."
Don't bother asking Jeremy Evans what he has planned for next Saturday's Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend in Houston. That goes for his teammates, too.
Gordon Hayward, who last year lobbed him two balls for one dunk, doesn't know. Neither does Randy Foye, who said Evans is afraid "we might tweet it out or put it on Instagram."
But that doesn't mean folks aren't offering to help.
"Everyone has ideas," Evans said. "Walk into the arena, somebody may stop me out on the street, out in the mall, someone always has an idea. Some of them are pretty good ideas, you try them. Some of them are just impossible."
Even Corbin said he gave Evans an idea, but that he didn't know if he would put it to use.
"He might jump over a van or something," Corbin said, "I don't know. He should do well; he's practicing hard. I'm excited about him being able to defend the championship."
Trade winds, blowhard
On ESPN's pregame show, Grantland founder and NBA analyst Bill Simmons broke down the Jazz's needs at the trade deadline and said as most observers have that the Jazz need a point guard.
Mo Williams was apparently watching.
The Jazz point guard tweeted, "What the hell Bill Simmons talking about the jazz need a point guard. What the hell position have I been playing all yr?"
Williams, however, has not played since Dec. 22 in Miami and missed his 23rd game since suffering a right thumb injury that night. The Jazz are 17-8 without the veteran point guard this season, and were 11-14 with him.
The Jazz have gotten by with a mish-mash of options at the position, starting Jamaal Tinsley, and putting the ball in the hands of Earl Watson, Alec Burks and Hayward.