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Starks plans on signing with Jazz

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Shooting guard John Starks apparently plans to sign with the Utah Jazz, who are looking for someone to replace the retired Jeff Hornacek.

Starks, an 11-year veteran who played eight seasons with the New York Knicks, recently visited Utah and told the Tulsa World he expects to sign a two-year contract with the Jazz.

"They were very sincere that they wanted me and I'm their guy to fill the role that Jeff Hornacek played over the years," Starks said. "They were the first team that came at me with that type of scenario."

Jazz spokesman Kim Turner couldn't immediately confirm Starks' claim Tuesday.

Utah has two salary exceptions available for the 2000-01 season, one for $1.25 million and another for $2.25 million.

Starks would be a logical fit to fill the void left by Hornacek's retirement. Currently, Utah has second-year Quincy Lewis and 19-year-old rookie DeShawn Stevenson listed at the position

Starks, who turns 35 on Aug. 10, started last season with Golden State but went to Chicago in the three-team trade that sent Toni Kukoc to Philadelphia.

Nursing an injured left knee, Starks missed 13 straight games with the Bulls after playing in four in which he averaged 7.5 points.

The Jazz also have been negotiating with veteran big man Danny Manning, who bought out the final year of his contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.

As an unrestricted free agent, Starks visited several teams in recent weeks and said his top choices were New York, Miami and Orlando. He played for Heat coach Pat Riley when both were in New York.

However, Starks said he liked what he heard from Jazz owner Larry Miller, coach Jerry Sloan and All-Star forward Karl Malone.

"They really wanted me to be there and said I'm their guy," he said. "That felt outstanding. They told me if I would say yes right now, we'll stop the search. That sealed the deal for me."

Starks, a Tulsa native who played at Oklahoma State, told the newspaper there were too many things that "needed to go right" for him to sign with New York, Miami or Orlando.

Starks was named to the NBA's All-Star team in 1994. He also won the league's sixth-man of the year award in 1996.