Now that the Jazz's overachieving run of February and March is over, the Frank Layden Watch starts again. After the Jazz lose in the playoffs, Layden and others will have decisions to make about his coaching future.
He has five years left on his coaching-only contract, remember, but he and owner Larry Miller and president-GM David Checketts all suggested at midseason that something else could be worked out if that's what Layden wanted.The Jazz's subsequent 21-9 record turned attention away from Layden's future, but the NBA office may have revived the issue with last week's $10,00 fine.
No doubt, this season has worn on Layden, with unhappy players, tough referees and $15,000 in NBA fines intended to keep him quiet.
Has he had enough?
"I don't have any feeling that way," he said. "I'm kind of happy with this team."
In some ways, of course, this season is hardly different from many of Layden's others. "I think he's about the same as always," said Mark Eaton. "He goes through spells every year. Usually, it's just a short-term deal and in a couple of days he's all right again."
Said Checketts, "I don't see him any more fed up at this point of the season."
But while Miller has not publicly criticized Layden for drawing the fine the owner has to pay, pending an appeal, he couldn't have been happy with the repeat offense. Checketts was talking about Layden's attitude toward coaching when he said, "The latest incident didn't help."
But maybe the same idea could apply to Miller's attitude toward Layden.
Layden, who plans to take several days off after the playoffs to consider his future, says, "Maybe the Jazz will be tired of me. I don't know what they're thinking of me."