After three interviews and almost three months of interviewing candidates and speculation, the Los Angeles Lakers made a formal offer of the head coach position to former Laker Byron Scott on Friday, according to ESPN. They have started negotiations on the length and amount of the contract.
It’s been quite a journey this summer with Scott, Lionel Hollins, George Karl, Mike Dunleavy, Alvin Gentry, Kurt Rambis and others being considered along the way. All while they had a draft and a free agent period where they struck out on the big dogs that were available.
However, Scott was the frontrunner from the very beginning.
“I think the Kobe relationship is going to play a big part,” Scott told USA TODAY Sports in late May. “Again, I think I’ve got a hand up on (the job) because of our relationship. We get along extremely well. Kobe knows all about me and what I’m about…So to me, it’s going to be fun.”
The amount of the contract should be very interesting since novice head coaches Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher both received five years for 25 million. Scott has experience on his side as he has coached three teams (New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets and the Cleveland Cavaliers) and has been to the NBA Finals twice. Scott will probably be looking at a four or five year deal worth 7-8 million per season.
He won Coach of the Year in 2008 with the Hornets when they finished the season a surprising 55-26 lost in seven games to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals. He has coaching record of 416-521 (44.4%), a result of him taking over reclamation projects.
His first year in NJ (2000-2001), they won 26 games. His second, they doubled that and won 52.
His first year in NO (2004-2005), they won 18. His second, they doubled that and won 38.
The only job he didn’t show drastic improvement in was at Cleveland where they won 19 games in his first year (2010-2011) and won just 21 in his second.
His personality is a lot like his former coach, Pat Riley. He’s a bit abrasive and a taskmaster, but he’s a guy that gets things done, players be damned.
He’s also a former mentor to the franchise player in Kobe Bryant. He spent his first 10 seasons in LA before heading to Indiana for two and one in Vancouver before returning to LA in the 1996-1997 season, Kobe’s rookie year. By all accounts, Scott mentored Kobe and took him under his wing so to speak. The two have a great relationship.
Gary Payton is being rumored to be a possible candidate as an assistant coach on Scott’s staff. Payton would be a fine addition as he was a great defensive player during his own playing career, earning the nickname, “The Glove.”
Scott averaged 14 points per game (converting 37% of his 3-pointers), three rebounds per game, and 2.5 assists per game during his 14-year career in which he won three titles with the Lakers.
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