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Sloan has made no retirement plans

But he didn’t sign extension for the 2001-02 season

SHARE Sloan has made no retirement plans

Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, the longest tenured coach in the NBA, denies he is planning to retire after next season.

"When you start talking about retirement, that's when you get up under a shade tree and don't ever come out," Sloan, 58, said Wednesday. "So I haven't thought much about that. . . . I don't think a day goes by that a person doesn't think about it. But I'm healthy and I still feel good — to retire at this stage would be pretty blunt."

Last week, Jazz forward Karl Malone said that both teammate John Stockton and Sloan planned to retire after the 2000-01 NBA season. Malone said he didn't want to finish out his career on a team that was undergoing rebuilding.

Jazz officials — including owner Larry Miller — immediately said they knew nothing of Sloan retiring, and they expressed confidence that Sloan would keep coaching beyond next season.

Sloan has coached the Jazz for 12 years.

Sloan is not under contract for the 2001-2002 season. Typically, Miller has extended Sloan's contract so he is never coaching in its final year. This time, however, Sloan elected not to sign an extension.

"They were going to renew it, but I thought it would be good for both of us to at least be in position to say 'yes' or 'no.' I thought it would be better for me and the ball club," he said. "The Jazz have been very good to me. I didn't want them to feel obligated."

Sloan also discounted Malone's contention that 38-year-old point guard John Stockton has decided to retire after the coming season.

"John's never said anything to me," Sloan said. "Last year, he did say, 'Do you want me back?' I said, 'Yes,' because I thought he had a hell of a year. I know he still loves to play basketball, and if you enjoy playing, why not?

"I would have played until I was 50 if I'd been healthy," Sloan said. "I mean, that's about as exciting as it gets, isn't it? To play basketball and be competitive every day. I can't think of anything better."

Sloan's record with the Jazz is 582-271. Under his guidance, the Jazz have made 12 straight playoff appearances, won five Midwest Division titles and reached two NBA Finals.