Scott Layden will make his eighth first-round draft selection for the Jazz tonight, and will stay in charge of the team's basketball operation.
With general manager David Checketts' resignation effective July 1, owner Larry Miller will break up Checketts' job and give the basketball part to Layden, who has the title of assistant coach/director of player personnel. He'll consult with Coach Jerry Sloan and president Frank Layden, his father. "We've tried to clarify and redefine the scope of authority Scott has . . . leaving everything on the basketball side in their hands," Miller said Monday.Added Miller, "We're in the final stages of analyzing what we're going to do on the business side."
Owning the No. 21 choice in tonight's draft, the Jazz were not expected to do any trading before today's noon MDT pre-draft deadline. Golden State, considering several possibilities with the Nos. 14 and 16 choices, called Monday with an offer to switch picks for upward of $500,000. "If we were going to invest that kind of money, we'd have to get an impact player," noted Miller.
Reports from Philadelphia last weekend had the Jazz and 76ers close to a deal, but Layden said, "I've heard all the rumors, too, but I haven't had any discussions with them."
The results of the Jazz's draft may help them decide about re-signing forward Marc Iavaroni, who would become an unrestricted free agent July 1. The Jazz are already considering signing veteran NBA forward Danny Vranes to replace him.
Miller, meanwhile, reacted mildly to last week's word from forward Karl Malone, who's considering asking for a new contract but wants Miller to make the first move.
"I'm much more interested in focusing on what I'd call our current loose ends," Miller said. "Karl Malone signed last year for 10 years."
Miller did say that he might consider at some point a revolutionary kind of contract that would protect the team from a dropoff in performance, even injury-related. "You don't mind paying guys while they're performing," he said. Malone's current $18 million deal is fully guaranteed.