The Utah Jazz have denied the Miami Heat permission to talk to Coach Frank Layden about their coaching vacancy, meaning that Layden will return next season as Jazz coach, Jazz owner Larry Miller announced in a press conference today.

Miami part-owner Billy Cunningham contacted Jazz president David Checketts this week to express his interest in Layden.Following a daylong meeting Thursday, Larry Miller decided not to allow the Heat to discuss their opening with Layden.

"I got the message that I was wanted here," said Layden.

Layden has 5 years remaining on his contract, and indicated that his coaching future would continue to be decided on a year-to-year basis. When Cunningham talked to Layden Thursday night, Cunningham indicated that he planned now to ask the Jazz for permission to talk to with Jazz assistant coach Jerry Sloan.

Miller said he would likely grant that request, if he had an indication that Sloan was a top candidate for the job.

Asked if the Miami situation was intriguing to him, Layden said, "Without a doubt. I have an ego. I'll always wonder what was there on the table. I will probably look back sometimes, especially when we're on those losing streaks."

But Layden also said he would have wondered about his standing with the Jazz if Miller had been willing to let him investigate Miami.