Starks plans to sign with Jazz

Tuesday, August 1st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Shooting guard John Starks plans to sign a two-year contract with the Utah Jazz, who are looking a veteran to replace the retired Jeff Hornacek. Starks, an 11-year veteran who played eight seasons with the New York Knicks, recently visited Utah. "They were very sincere that they wanted me and I'm their guy to fill the role that Jeff Hornacek played over the years," Starks told the Tulsa World. "They were the first team that came at me with that type of scenario."

Utah has two salary exceptions available for the 2000-01 season, and Starks would presumably sign for the $2.5 million mid-level exception. Starks would be a logical fit to fill the void left by Hornacek. Currently, Utah has second-year Quincy Lewis and 19-year-old rookie DeShawn Stevenson listed at the position.

As an unrestricted free agent, Starks visited several teams in recent weeks and said his top choices were New York, Miami and Orlando. However, Starks said he liked what he heard from Jazz owner Larry Miller, coach Jerry Sloan and All-Star forward Karl Malone. "They really wanted me to be there and said I'm their guy," he said. "That felt outstanding. They told me if I would say yes right now, we'll stop the search. That sealed the deal for me."

Starks said there were too many things that "needed to go right" for him to sign with New York, Miami or Orlando. Starks, who turns 35 on Aug. 10, started last season with Golden State but went to Chicago in the three-team trade that sent Toni Kukoc to Philadelphia.

Nursing an injured left knee, Starks missed 13 straight games with the Bulls after playing in four in which he averaged 7.5 points. The Jazz also have been negotiating with veteran forward Danny Manning, who bought out the final year of his contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. Starks was named to the All-Star team in 1994. He also won the Sixth Man Award in 1996.