Layden to start as Jazz assistant coach Sunday

Updated: July 6, 2005, 4:04 PM ET
Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY -- Scott Layden is returning to the NBA.

Layden, the former president of the New York Knicks and an assistant coach and administrator with Utah, is joining Jazz coach Jerry Sloan's staff as an assistant, the team announced Wednesday.

Layden and Sloan were assistants with the Jazz under former coach and general manager Frank Layden, Scott's father. It was Scott Layden who convinced his father in 1984 to use the 16th overall pick in the draft to select an unknown point guard out of Gonzaga -- John Stockton.

A year later, Scott Layden directed the draft again and Utah selected Karl Malone at No. 13, setting the foundation for the franchise until 2003.

"I am really pleased to make this announcement. Scott has an extensive amount of basketball knowledge and will bring a great deal to our coaching staff," Sloan said in a release.

Layden hasn't worked in the NBA since being fired as president of the New York Knicks in December 2003. Layden spent four seasons running the Knicks and was blamed by fans for New York's struggles.

Layden became so unpopular in New York that fans filled Madison Square Garden with the chant of "Fire Layden!" during the 2003 draft. A few months later, the Knicks did just that.

Layden spent 18 years with the Jazz as an administrative assistant, scout, assistant coach, director of player personnel and vice president of basketball operations. He left Utah in 1999 to become president and general manager of the Knicks.

"I think he felt a comfort level with Coach and I think he felt a comfort level with the organization," said Kevin O'Connor, who succeeded Layden as vice president of basketball operations in 1999.

The only player remaining from Layden's first tenure with the Jazz is Andrei Kirilenko, a first-round draft pick in 1999 before Layden left for the Knicks.

Layden, 46, will officially start Sunday when the team meets for rookie camp prior to the start of the summer league on July 15. He was out of the country Wednesday and not available for comment.

The deal will be completed later in the week when Layden returns. The Jazz would not disclose terms of the contract.

Layden replaces Gordon Chiesa, Sloan's longtime assistant who left for a job with the New Jersey Nets last month. Layden joins assistants Phil Johnson and Tyrone Corbin and Sloan, who succeeded Frank Layden in 1988.

"I don't think it's been buttoned down exactly what his obligations are going to be, but his main responsibility will be on the floor as an assistant coach," O'Connor said.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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