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Jazz V.P. Meets With Knicks

Scott Layden, vice president of basketball operations for the Utah Jazz, met with New York Knicks officials over the weekend to discuss taking a similar position with the team, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday.

Layden's departure is imminent, KSTU Fox television reported, citing its own unnamed sources. Layden refused comment Sunday night.

Jazz publicist Kim Turner told The Associated Press he couldn't confirm the move.

"Stranger things have happened, but as of Friday when I left the office, I didn't know anything about it," Turner said.

Layden has been valuable at recruiting talent, working trades, drafting and getting free agents, transforming the Jazz into one of the NBA's top teams.

Dave Checketts, the Knicks president and chief operating officer, was president of the Jazz in the 1980s and maintains close ties to Utah.

The Knicks' job opened in April with the firing of Ernie Grunfeld, who was general manager before being reassigned to special consultant.

Grunfeld was let go less than a week after the Knicks lost in the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs.

The Tribune reported that Layden could make $1.5 million a year with the Knicks, about four times his Jazz salary.

Layden, son of former Jazz coach Frank Layden, helped shape the team the past 18 years, calling most of the major personnel shots for 11 years.

Scott Layden's recruiting talent makes him a high commodity in the NBA.>
Scott Layden's recruiting talent makes him a high commodity in the NBA.(AP)

He joined the Jazz in 1981 as an assistant coach. In 1988, he became a chief scout and was named director of player development. His title was upgraded to vice president of basketball operations in 1996.

The Jazz finished the 1999 season with a league-best 37-13 record, but sputtered down the stretch and was eliminated from the playoffs in the second round by the Portland Trail Blazers.

That was Utah's earliest playoff exit since 1995. The Jazz have had 13 straight winning seasons, as well as four division titles and two Western Conference championships in the last decade.

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