Day 1 of the Jazz offseason meant vacation plans, the dividing of playoff money and talk of the Laydens moving to expansion teams.
Assistant coach Scott Layden is still in the running for the job of director of player personnel for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Coach Frank Layden continues to surface as the hot name for coach of the Miami Heat.Frank Layden was off to Buffalo early Sunday morning, missing the traditional postseason meeting with the players to fulfill a commitment. When asked about the Miami situation Saturday, he said only, "I haven't talked to any other teams."
Billy Cunningham, a Miami official and CBS-TV commentator, has confirmed nothing about the Heat's interest in Layden, but has not discouraged Miami area reporters from speculating about Layden and Detroit assistant Ron Rothstein as the top candidates. Jazz president David Checketts has heard rumblings himself, but said Miami has not officially contacted him for permission to talk to Layden.
"I don't know what the level of their interest is," said Checketts.
Layden has five years left on his contract; the Jazz would likely receive financial or draft-choice compensation if he switched teams. But the Jazz would apparently not stand in his way. "I don't see going to Miami as a promotion for Frank, but if that's something he wants and the people there want him . . . I don't think it makes any sense to keep a guy against his will."
Miami executive Lewis Schaffel tried unsuccessfuly to hire Layden to coach the New Jersey Nets in 1985.
The Heat will enter the NBA for the 1988-89 season, initially playing in the Midwest Division. Minnesota will be added in 1989-90, but wants a staff in place as soon as possible. Scott Layden interviewed twice during the season for the player personnel job, but Minnesota executives postponed their search until after the June 28 NBA draft.
"I have to have an interest in it, because it's a career advancement," said Layden. "Although I have a lot of responsibility with the Jazz, it would still be more."
Layden is the Jazz's No. 2 bench assistant and chief scout, credited with finding and drafting players like Mark Eaton, Bobby Hansen, Thurl Bailey and John Stockton.
The No. 1 assistant is Jerry Sloan, the former Chicago head coach who would be the Jazz's logical choice if Frank Layden ever left. While Sloan refuses to talk prematurely about moving up with the Jazz, he said, "There's no question I'd like to be a head coach . . . I'm not campaigning and I never will, but I've never had any doubts about my ability to do it. I have confidence in myself, but all that is for other people to decide."
Sloan and Scott Layden left immediately after the meeting to scout the U.S. Olympic team trials in Denver.
Checketts met with each player, outlining the team's plans for him. He suggested contract restructurings to two players: Rickey Green, if he wants to stay with the team, and Kelly Tripucka, if he wants to leave. Tripucka would seemingly be easier to trade if another team didn't have to absorb a salary of $981,000 next season with modest increases the following two years. But Tripucka said, "I'm not taking a pay cut. I deserved that _ I earned that money."
Tripucka is confident the Jazz can find a taker for him, maybe even before the expansion draft in mid June. Said Checketts, "I think Kelly is more marketable this year than last year. At least he had a run of games where he played very well."
For finishing fifth in the Western Conference and advancing to the second round, the Jazz players earned $75,000 in total playoff money. They created 13 shares of about $6,000 each, with the 11 players with the team all season receiving a full share. Three players received one-third shares: Carey Scurry, waived in January; Scott Roth, signed in February; and Eddie Hughes, signed in March. The other share was also divided three ways, for assistant trainer Terry Clark; the team's ballboys; and an additional bonus for Roth and Hughes.
The coaches and trainer Don Sparks have playoff provisions in their contracts.
By lasting as long as they did in the playoffs, the Jazz also generated considerable money for the franchise. The Jazz made more than $1 million in the playoffs, Checketts confirmed, as they especially benefited from Games 5 and 7 against the Lakers. The NBA has a revenue-sharing plan in effect after Game 4 of a seven-game series, so the Jazz received 25 percent of net gate receipts for the last two games in the Forum, which seats 17,505 and has playoff ticket prices starting at $40.
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