Scott Layden

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For other people with this last name, see Layden.

Scott Layden (born 1959 in Brooklyn, New York) is an assistant general manager with the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA.[1] He is the son of former coach and general manager of the Jazz, Frank Layden, and a graduate of Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania where he studied Business, Sports Management and Women's Studies.[2]

Early career[edit]

He also held various coaching jobs for the Jazz during the 1980s and '90s when his father was the head coach for the team. in 1981-82 he worked as a talent scout/assistant coach; he was promoted to assistant coach prior to the 1982 season, a position he held until 1988. It was during this time that he is generally considered responsible for the selection of a relatively unknown collegiate point guard out of Gonzaga University with the 16th pick in the 1984 NBA Draft: John Stockton. The following year, he directed the draft again and selected Karl Malone with the 13th pick. Stockton and Malone helped the Jazz make the playoffs 18 consecutive seasons, including two Western Conference Titles in 1997 and 1998. From 1988-90 he was the team's director of player personnel & assistant coach, a position he held shortly before he gave up his seat as assistant coach to focus solely on being the director of player personnel. In 1992 he was given the position of director of basketball operations, where he stayed until his 1996 promotion to vice president of basketball operations.[3] He left the organization in 1999 to replace interim general manager of the New York Knicks Ed Tapscott.

General Manager of the New York Knicks[edit]

Layden was the New York Knicks executive vice president and general manager from 1999–2001, and the president and general manager of the organization from 2001-2003.[3] The Knicks under Layden's watch (and of his successor Isiah Thomas) were called the "Worst Franchise in Sports" by ESPN.com.[4]

The 1999-00 NBA Season - Team Record: 50-32[edit]

Layden took over as general manager of the Knicks after the strike-shortened, Cinderella-story season of 1998-99 that saw the team make history by becoming the first #8 seed in a conference to reach the NBA Finals.[5] He replaced interim GM Ed Tapscott, who had already used the team's selection in the 1999 NBA Draft to take injured Frenchman Frédéric Weis with the team's first round pick over Ron Artest.

The new GM of the Knicks made his first notable transaction when he signed controversial shooting guard Latrell Sprewell to a five-year, $61.9 million contract extension that would keep him in a Knick uniform through the 2003-04 season, although he would later be traded.[6] Sprewell was a highly touted basketball talent, but he ran into off court issues with his former organization the Golden State Warriors when he was accused of strangling then head coach P. J. Carlesimo during a practice. Soon after becoming a member of the Knicks, Sprewell was involved in a motor vehicle accident that saw him, "drive his Mercedes-Benz on a freeway from an exit lane".[7]

The 2000-01 NBA Season - Team Record: 48-34[edit]

August 1, 2000 saw Layden make his second big move when he re-signed free agent power forward Kurt Thomas to a 3-year, $13M contract extension with a 1-year team option.

On September 20, the Knicks GM traded veteran, all-star, and team captain center Patrick Ewing to the Seattle SuperSonics in a four-team deal that saw back-up center Chris Dudley and the Knicks 2001 first-round draft pick go to the Phoenix Suns, in return for forwards Glen Rice & Lazaro Borrell, guard Vernon Maxwell, centers Luc Longley, Travis Knight, Vladimir Stepania, a 2001 first-round draft pick from the Los Angeles Lakers, a 2002 first-round draft pick from the Seattle SuperSonics, and two 2001 second-round draft picks. Rice played in 75 games, averaging 12 points-per-game for New York before being traded to Houston. Knight appeared in 126 games over three seasons, averaging less than 9 minutes per-game. Longley played in 25 games for the Knicks averaging 2 points and 2.6 rebounds, while Borrell, Maxwell, & Stepania never saw action for the team. Ewing's production had decreased due to age and chronic injury over the past few seasons, and team brass felt that a deal was in the best interest of the future of the organization.

On January 30, 2001, guard Erick Strickland and a first and second-round draft pick from the Ewing trade was sent to the Vancouver Grizzlies for back-up forward/center Othella Harrington. Harrington would go to play in 237 games for New York while only starting in 77.[8] Vancouver would take Jamaal Tinsley with the 27th-pick in the draft acquired from New York.

February 22 saw guard Chris Childs and the other first-round draft pick sent to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for aging guards Mark Jackson and Muggsy Bogues. Bogues would never appear in a game for the Knicks, while Jackson would play less than two full seasons for the team that originally made him the 18th pick in the 1987 draft.

The 2001-02 NBA Season - Team Record: 30-52[edit]

With the Knicks no longer having a first round draft pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, Layden used the team's two second round picks on Michael Wright of Arizona (39th overall) and center Eric Chenowith of Kansas (43rd overall). Neither player ever saw action in the NBA.[9]

On July 23, Knicks shooting guard Allan Houston re-signed as a free agent to a 6-year, $100M guaranteed contract that would keep him in New York until the 2006-07 season, when he would be 35. The signing made Houston, who had never averaged 20-points-per-game in a season at that time, the highest-paid player in franchise history.[10] This transaction put the team "well over $80 million in payroll this season [2001]." [11] Houston retired after the 2004-05 season with chronic knee complications; there was roughly $40,000,000 left on his contract.[12]

Less than a month later, on August 10, Glen Rice was traded to the Houston Rockets and guard Muggsy Bogues to the Dallas Mavericks as part of a three-team deal in exchange for guard Howard Eisley from the Mavericks and forward Shandon Anderson from the Rockets. On paper this trade looks merely like a swap of average NBA players, but this was not the case. Eisley would end up playing in 154 games for Knicks, providing adequate numbers at the point guard position, but he was currently in the second year of a 7-year, $41 Million contract that he signed by Layden's former organization, the Utah Jazz. At the same time, Anderson, another former member of the Jazz was in the first year of a 6-year, $42 Million contract that he signed with the Rockets, which extended through the 2006-07 season. Anderson played in 245 games for the knicks over four seasons before being waived due to poor performance; he averaged less than 3 rebounds and 8 points-per-game during his stay. In comparison to the contracts New York gave up, Bogues was in the second year of a 4-year $8 Million contract with the fourth year being a team option, and Rice was under contract for three more years and $27 Million.[13] The trade proved to be a bad financial decision as the team was well over the salary cap limit.

Layden's next major move came after the unexpected resignation of head coach Jeff Van Gundy on December 8. Don Chaney was selected as an interim coach for the remainder of the 2001-02 season. After the team went 20-43 .317% under his command, he was given a contract extension for the following season.

The 2002-03 NBA Season - Team Record: 37-45[edit]

The biggest move that Layden made during the 2002-03 season was completed on draft night. After selecting Nenê with the 7th pick in the 2002 NBA draft, he was immediately traded along with Marcus Camby and Mark Jackson to the Denver Nuggets in return for power forward Antonio McDyess, the draft rights to guard Frank Williams and a 2003 second-round draft pick.[14] McDyess, a former #2 draft pick, was already limited to role-player status due to chronic injury; He played only 18 games for the Knicks. Williams was a disappointment from the beginning, his Knick career lasted 65 games with only three starts. On the other end of this transaction, Denver received a solid NBA player in power forward/center Marcus Camby. Camby had averaged a double-double (at least 10 rebounds and 10 points per-game) over his last two seasons as a Knick and nearly 2 blocked shots, along with being an integral part of New York's eastern conference title in 1999.

The 2003-04 NBA Season - Team Record: 10-18[edit]

Layden's last season as the GM for the Knicks started off with the selections of Mike Sweetney from Georgetown with the 9th-pick in the draft, Maciej Lampe of Poland with the 30th-pick, and Slavko Vraneš of Serbia and Montenegro with the 39th-pick. Sweetney was later traded by Layden's successor Isiah Thomas as part of the deal with the Chicago Bulls that saw the Knicks acquire center Eddy Curry. Lampe never played in a game for New York as he was later traded to the Phoenix Suns, also by Thomas as part of the deal that saw Stephon Marbury come to the Knicks. Vraneš also never saw NBA action with New York, he was waived by the team after being tendered a 1-year minimum contract; currently his career spans one game with the Portland Trail Blazers.

On July 23, 2003 Layden traded guard Latrell Sprewell with two years remaining on his contract to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of a four-team trade that also included interactions with the 76ers and Hawks. In return, the Knicks acquired veteran forward Keith Van Horn. Van Horn, an integral part of the New Jersey Nets 2002 eastern conference title, played in only 47 games for New York in just one season, averaging 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds-per-game.[15]

The last notable transaction that Layden made as general manager came on October 9, when he signed Dikembe Mutombo to a 2-year contract.

Scott Layden was fired on December 22, 2003 by New York Knicks owner James Dolan.

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