Delay in the Jazz-Warriors matchup due to the SLC death of Golden State assistant trainer

Delay in the Jazz-Warriors matchup due to the SLC death of Golden State assistant trainer

The NBA has postponed the Delta Center match between the Warriors from Golden State and the Utah Jazz scheduled for Wednesday night due to the death of a Warriors assistant trainer on Wednesday morning.

“We are in a state of absolute devastation over Dejan’s passing,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

Following a private dinner with players and coaches within Salt Lake City on Tuesday night, the NBA deemed “a medical emergency affecting the Warriors family” to be the reason for the early Wednesday postponement of the game.

Hours after the Warriors declared that 46-year-old coach’s assistant Dejan Milojevic, who was hospitalized Tuesday night in Salt Lake City but later confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Milojevic died late Wednesday morning “despite life-saving efforts,” the news broke.

“Everyone associated with the Warriors has been dealt a tragic and shocking setback, and his loved ones, fellow teammates, and all of us who had the immense privilege of working with him are going through an unbelievably trying time.”

Milojevic was “one of the most uplifting and beautiful human beings I ever met,” according to Kerr, who also described him as a “terrific” hoop coach.

He stated that Milojevic’s enthusiasm and vitality “infused each day with happiness and illumination.”

“We grieve alongside and for his spouse, Natasa, and his kids, Nikola and Masa,” clarified Kerr. “Their loss is unthinkable.” On Friday evening, the team will play against Dallas.

A Warriors spokesman informed the San Francisco Chronicle that the team’s morale was “shaken.” The staff visited Milojevic in the hospital, causing the cancellation of the morning shootaround.

Team coach Steve Kerr expressed profound sadness over the untimely demise of Dejan in a statement issued on behalf of the organization.

“A tragic and shocking setback has affected everyone affiliated with the Warriors, and his family, friends, and all of us who had the immense pleasure of working with him are currently experiencing an unbearably trying time.”

Milojević was a member of the Warriors for his third season. In addition to Montenegro, he formerly coached in Serbia, where he once instructed a young Jokic before the current Denver Nuggets star arrived in the United States.

Before joining Atlanta, he served as an assistant coach with the Serbian national team, where he collaborated with current Atlanta advisor Igor Koskoskov. He had been a head coach in Europe for eight years.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated, “The NBA mourns the untimely passing of Golden State assistant coach Dejan Milojevi, a cherished colleague and dear friend to so many in the international basketball community.”

“Dejan headed coach in his native Serbia and had a decorated international playing career, in addition to mentoring among the best players in the world and winning the 2022 NBA championship in his first season with the Warriors.”

Among others, over his tenure as a coach in Europe, Milojević collaborated closely with Jokic, Ivica Zubac of the Los Angeles Clippers, Goga Bitadze of Orlando, and Boban Marjanovic of Houston.

During his time with the Warriors, Milojević primarily collaborated with big men such as Kevon Looney, who praised his meticulousness.

Milojević was first brought to Kerr’s attention, according to Kent Lacob, a son of the team’s owner, Joe Lacob.

Kerr decided to pursue Milojević during the staffing changes that occurred with the Warriors in 2021. After considerable persuasion, Milojević ultimately consented to accept the offer. Kerr was overjoyed.

“I saw what Kent was speaking about immediately,” Kerr said in a video that the Warriors produced last year.

“He was delightful to be around.” Moreover, he possessed an extraordinary basketball resume, having excelled as both a participant and a mentor. We should have absolutely no hesitation in bringing Deki in.”