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Newly promoted Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin's first message to his team was simple and direct: We are sticking together.
Corbin spoke Friday morning with all 13 Utah players inside the team's locker room prior to a shootaround at Energy Solutions Arena, delaying the practice by about 10 minutes.
It was Corbin's first interaction with the Jazz following the unexpected resignation Thursday of long-time Utah coach Jerry Sloan and assistant Phil Johnson.
Corbin said that he wanted to remind Utah that it is a strong, talented unit with playoff potential. And with the final quarter of the season fast approaching, the Jazz do not have time to hit the pause button and look backward.
"It's status quo," said Corbin, who slept just two hours Thursday night while processing the news of Sloan's departure. "We're a good team. We're expected to win. We've got to get back to work, and we've got to get past this adjustment process as soon as we can. And they responded well to it."
Utah guard Deron Williams addressed a series of questions Friday morning about his relationship with Sloan and Corbin, and his short- and long-term belief in the Jazz.
Williams did not initially know what to think when he learned of Sloan's resignation. But he praised the Hall of Fame coach's 23-year tenure with Utah.
"I'm sad to see him go," Williams said. "Especially in the middle of our season."
Williams also attempted to clear up rumors and accusations that have surrounded his name since Sloan stepped down. Williams acknowledged having an argument with Sloan on Wednesday during halftime of a home loss to Chicago. But he stressed that he and his former coach had other disagreements before, and there is no way that one player could have single-handedly pushed out the rock-like Sloan.
"Am I the reason that Coach resigned? I highly doubt that," Williams said. "Never once did I say it's me or him. That never happened. I haven't even had a meeting with management this year so far. So, where all this stuff is coming from, I have no clue."