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Utah Jazz: Scott Layden appreciates time with Jazz, excited to be with Spurs

Published: Thursday, July 30 2015 5:28 p.m. MDT

Dennis Lindsey es presentado como el nuevo Gerente General de los Utah Jazz en el Zions Bank Basketball Center de Salt Lake City, en agosto de 2012 (, Ravell Call, Deseret News) Dennis Lindsey es presentado como el nuevo Gerente General de los Utah Jazz en el Zions Bank Basketball Center de Salt Lake City, en agosto de 2012 (, Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SAN ANTONIO — For about 10 minutes before Saturday's Jazz-Spurs game, Scott Layden and Dennis Lindsey sat next to each other in courtside seats at AT&T Center.

The two executives chatted amicably, but they weren't trading notes or secrets about their new teams.

Only they know if they swapped favorite eating spots or preferred social hot spots. And Layden admitted, after jokingly asked by another reporter, they have not traded homes in Salt Lake City and San Antonio.

They have, however, traded organizations — an unofficial NBA swap that works well for all involved.

Lindsey has repeatedly talked about how thrilled he is to have replaced Kevin O'Connor as the Jazz's general manager.

Speaking with Utah media members for the first time since leaving for San Antonio in August, Layden was openly appreciative for the opportunity to take over Lindsey's old job as Spurs assistant general manager.

Scott Layden with the Jazz as they have first day of practice with their Rocky Mountain Review team in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 11, 2005.   Photo by Tom Smart (TOM SMART, DESERET MORNING NEWS) Scott Layden with the Jazz as they have first day of practice with their Rocky Mountain Review team in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 11, 2005. Photo by Tom Smart (TOM SMART, DESERET MORNING NEWS)

"The Spurs organization is something special," Layden said, "and so to have an opportunity to work here is … I'm very, very fortunate."

Joining forces with San Antonio GM R.C. Buford ended Layden's most recent stint with Utah, where he's worked for off and on since the early 1980s. His jobs with the Jazz have included everything from scout to general manager to the assistant coaching gig he had under the Jerry Sloan and Tyrone Corbin regimes for the past seven seasons.

"I have nothing but the utmost respect and appreciation for those 25 years," Layden said.

Utah, he pointed out, is where he raised his family. He married his wife, Marsha, while a Jazz employee. He has a lot of good memories associated with his old organization that his family helped put on the map.

With that in mind, Layden hoped to dispel any speculation that he was upset or left disgruntled after not being interviewed for the Utah job that became open when O'Connor decided to relinquish day-to-day duties to focus on being executive vice president of basketball operations.

"I don't have ill feeling," said Layden, whose rich pedigree also includes stints as the Knicks' general manager and president. "When I left (Utah), I got a nice call from Greg Miller and he was very appreciative and supportive and thanked me."

Layden, who said the timing was right to accept San Antonio's offer, didn't directly answer if he would've liked to interview for the Jazz GM job.

Instead, he emphasized two things: 1) He isn't upset; and 2) He gives the Jazz and O'Connor kudos for the "home-run" Lindsey hire.

"I think when you look at the way Kevin approached it, I think he hired in my mind one of the great executives in the game," Layden said. "And so he really accomplished his goal to put the franchise in line to succeed for many, many years.

"And I think he identified Dennis — it was very astute. I applaud them. I really applaud the Jazz for their direction, how they went about it."

As for his new job, Layden has seen from an outsider's perspective how effectively the four-time-champion Spurs have been run. In 2004, San Antonio invited Layden, his dad, Frank Layden, and former University of Utah coach Rick Majerus to attend training camp. Layden was fascinated by seeing what he called "a snapshot of the Spurs organization."

That fascination continues to grow.

"I'm thoroughly enjoying this and it's been a great education to get here and to learn what the Spurs were doing for so many years," Layden said. "(But) now that I'm even more immersed in it, it's really a special place, so I'm lucky to be a part of that."

Then again, he's also thankful for the NBA lifeline Utah's former Hall of Fame coach threw him after New York fired him in 2004.

"I hadn't anticipated getting back into coaching but when coach Sloan asked me to be his assistant, I couldn't turn him down. You can go be Jerry Sloan's assistant? Are you kidding me?" he said. "And then I was there seven years. I didn't know how long I would be there and it just worked out great."

Layden has been well respected in hoops circles for his knack for finding hidden talent since convincing the Jazz to take guys named John Stockton and Karl Malone, and he's enjoying being back in the evaluating game.

Layden used to make scouting reports for the Jazz, but now his job involves him scouting other NBA games on the road, attending college contests and occasionally going overseas to watch hoops.

"I like the scouting end of it," he said. "It's a lot of fun."

Corbin said Layden, whom he called "really astute to what's going on there (with players)," never talked about having his eye on moving into the front office while he was an assistant coach.

He also enjoyed visiting with Layden, who pointed out that he's worked with Corbin three times — once when the Jazz coach was a Jazz player in the early 90s, again when the Knicks hired him as the player development coach and, of course, for the past seven years on Utah's coaching staff.

"We miss him," said Corbin, who promoted Michael Sanders to assistant and hired Brad Jones as player development coach in Layden's absence. "He's done a great job with this organization for many years, and it's always good to see him doing well and doing what he wanted to do."

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