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Report: Byron Scott now the leading candidate to become Lakers head coach

Jun 24, 2014, 9:46 AM EDT

Memphis Grizzlies v Cleveland Cavaliers

The Lakers haven’t exactly been in a hurry to replace Mike D’Antoni, who resigned as Lakers head coach in late April with one year still remaining on his contract.

There have been interviews, but only with tenured coaches that have had experience in that job at the NBA level. It’s been largely quiet in terms of the team getting closer to making a decision, with the Lakers reportedly wanting to see what happens in free agency (i.e., whether or not they can land someone like Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love or even LeBron James) before pulling the trigger on their next coaching hire.

The latest report, however, has Byron Scott as the man at the top of the list.

From Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles:

While the Lakers remain focused on Thursday’s draft and the start of free agency July 1, sources tell that former Lakers star Byron Scott has emerged as the leading candidate for the head-coaching job after impressing in three interviews with the team.

Scott, former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, former Suns coach Alvin Gentry and former Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy have had formal interviews with general manager Mitch Kupchak and vice president of player personnel Jim Buss.

Most Lakers fans have been underwhelmed by this list, even though Gentry or Hollins seem like fine choices. The main reason being, while other clubs have made bold decisions in hiring first-time NBA coaches — like Brad Stevens in Boston, David Blatt in Cleveland or even Derek Fisher in New York — L.A. seems content to pursue what many would consider to be re-tread candidates.

Scott had some success in his first head coaching gig, taking the New Jersey Nets to two straight NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003. He then coached five full seasons in New Orleans, peaking with a run to the second round of the playoffs in the 2008 season.

His most recent experience, however, was a dismal one in Cleveland, taking over in the team’s first year following the departure of LeBron James and never winning more than 24 games in any of his three seasons.

The Lakers are holding off to see what free agency brings. But if (as expected) they don’t land any of the major players available, Scott appears to be in line to become the team’s next head coach.

  1. jeffkx - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    Good for Byron..he actually openly talked about coaching the Lakers someday even while he was here coaching the Cavs which was odd..but good for him, seemed like a good guy while he was here..

    • tuberippin - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:08 AM

      It’d be fitting. He was a supporting member of the Showtime Lakers, and he coached the Nets against the Shaq-and-Kobe Lakers in the 2002 Finals. He’s coached at a few stops, but he’s always been purple and gold at heart.

  2. csbanter - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    The Lakers are delaying the inevitable. Good choice for them.

  3. gbart22 - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    You can’t blame him for the Cleveland tenure I mean when Lebron left the team was left with nothing and everyone one knows you don’t win in the nba without star players for all docs success and praise and Phil’s too they’ve done it by having star players everywhere they’ve gone. I think to judge an nba coach accurately you have to look at what they did when they had teams with stars and in Scott’s case he brought the nets to places they had never been and when he went to New Orleans under difficult circumstances he helped build that team with the culmination of getting Paul and guiding them to the playoffs. Hard to knock the guy.

    • jeffkx - Jun 24, 2014 at 12:57 PM

      agree..he was given spoiled/rotten food and asked to make Thanksgiving dinner..

    • antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      Every coach wins by having a big time star player. Unless you’re Larry Brown.

    • tuberippin - Jun 25, 2014 at 2:10 AM


      Funny how nobody was talking up Doc Rivers back when he was coaching the Magic and Tracy McGrady was giving them first-round exits every year.

  4. nflcrimerankingscom - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Lakers, quit picking up the Cavs’ scraps.

    • jimsjam33 - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      Excuse me ? Byron Scott is a ” ShowTime ” Laker from the Magic Johnson era . He is Laker ” family ” and should have been named coach long before now . Good choice Lakers .

      • asimonetti88 - Jun 24, 2014 at 6:31 PM

        Byron Scott for Norm Nixon… thanks again Donnie Tokowitz!

    • zacksdad - Jun 24, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      I understand the sarcasm, Some people have no sense of this.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 12:38 PM


        first was Mike Brown…

        Now Byron

  5. unxpexted1 - Jun 24, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Just go ahead and make it happen. Even if we do get a superstar, what great coach is really out there for the taking.

  6. bigmeechy74 - Jun 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM


  7. 00maltliquor - Jun 24, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    This isn’t the big splash I was hoping for, but this is solid. I wanted Scott bad back when we were looking at Mike Brown. I hope this happens, considering the left over candidates.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      and there won’t be a “splash” with the free agent player signings this summer either…

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 24, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        No duh. What’s your point meja? Outside of James and Melo, there really isn’t any big names available. There won’t be a big free agent splash for 27 other NBA teams as well, including yours.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:16 PM

        what’s my point malt?

        At this time last summer, like many Lakers fans, YOU were saying the following (on June 20th on this site…).

        00maltliquor – Jun 20, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        Don’t bother these guys with facts. They don’t want to hear it. They have been salivating their whole lives, waiting for the Lakers to finally fall.

        Nevermind the Lakers will have the most cap space out of anyone after next season. Nooooo, they want to focus on the ONE upcoming season we are paying enough to buy a small island.

        13 3

        So Malt. it was YOU who said the Lakers were going to have a ton of cap space.

        And just what is cap space used for? Why to sign players of course.

        Now you say duh, you knew there was no one good to sign this year. Well, then WHY say last summer that the Lakers would have a LOT of cap space this summer when it would NOT do them any good? kinda makes saying it pointless then huh?

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:17 PM

        here was just ONE of many Laker fans on here say that KOBE would GIVE up money to get a 6th ring…

        to wit:

        fanofevilempire – Jun 20, 2013 at 10:12 AM
        Loungefly, I agree, Kobe will do anything, anything even
        give up salary for a few years for the chance
        to get # 6, he knows he has to get it to talk smack to MJ.
        He will help them, but Mitch has to get him help and management
        has to commit to make a run. I do not pretend I have ALL the answer
        but the Lakers don’t rebuild and they won’t stand
        by and watch that legacy take a hit.

        15 5

        Kobe should change his jersey number to 48.5

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:22 PM

        My overall larger point is that SO MANY Lakers homers said things like Dwight will stay, Kobe will take less.

        Then when Dwight left, so many said we’re the lakers, 16 banners, we’ll sign stars, we’ll have lots of money and remain on top…

        Here is a good quote from Metta World Peace about Dwight… He said this on June 17th of 2013.

        “When asked about the Lakers center who is about to be a free agent, World Peace said, “Well, he’s not going to Houston, I tell you that.”

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:25 PM

        Yo, look at the date home slice…that was before Kobe ate up 60% of our cap. And also before I seen the actual list of free agents.

        Nice try. Still, what’s your point???

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:43 PM


        here, YOU said you could see Kobe playing for the vets minimum to like $5 million because he wants his 6th ring so bad… and you even told us to remember that we heard it here (meaning from you) first.

        00maltliquor – Jun 9, 2013 at 7:10 PM
        @ money- Aaaaahahahahahaha!! LMAO! Right, right!

        @ sp- interesting p.o.v. We shall see.

        @ htj- Not saying it would happen, but I can see Kobe wanting a 6th ring sooo bad, especially if Duncan and the Spurs win it all this year, that he would play for anywhere from vets min.-5 mill if it meant the Lakers would secure top talent and/or fill out the bench nicely for a true shot at an instant championship run. So, we shall see. Remember you heard it here 1st.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:57 PM


        my point is that many lakers fans wanted dwight, then didn’t want him, then said Kobe would take much less, you yourself maybe even vets minimum.

        many lakers fans said, including you, that the lakers would have lots of cap space and they would sign players.

        lakers fans spoke of their “great management” and the “power of L.A.” (meaning the city)

        many lakers fans said the team would do well, contend still for a championship.

        Well, the lakers crashed and burned this past season and now this off season, even with cap space, much less than you and others thought as Kobe took so much money (even you thought he’d take very little, only up to $5 mill).

        what started this all off was you saying if they hire byron scott it wouldn’t be the splash you hoped for.

        then I said you won’t get any free agent splash this summer (even though you were touting the lakers having all that cap space which is used to sign players).

        so, the summer of 2014 is here. you have money.

        the lakers are going to be in bad shape this coming season when so many of you lakers fans said they would do what it takes to compete, contend.

        NONE of you saw reality.

        I’ve said many times on here that your lakers management hired mike brown, strike 1

        they hired mike d’antoni – strike 2

        so WHAT makes ANYONE think the same lakers management will hit a home run on this coaching hire?

        Like YOU even said, byron would NOT be a splash. that sounds EXACTLY the SAME as me saying they would not hit a homerun on this coaching hire.

        please just deal with reality…

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:58 PM


        it was YOU who told me to feel free to go back and look for things.

        now you tell me to check the date.

        YES I KNOW it’s from last summer. THAT is my point.

        what you lakers fans wrote last summer turned out to be wrong.

        what you’re writing this summer will turn out to be wrong too…

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:16 PM

        I appreciate you did the “homework”. But for real man, get real. Things change, situations change, ESPECIALLY within a year.

        Yeah, Kobe made me look stupid with that $5mill comment. Real stupid, but oh well. I’m not Kobe’s brain trust/inner circle.

        What is this point even about though, what is the point of this dialogue, I’m kinda lost buddy. Why don’t you bring up when I said that D12 wasnt gonna resign with the Lakers, or that I didn’t want him back at that pricetag? I’ve got PLENTY of “work” on here.

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:24 PM

        Also, what is your beef with the Lakers? What have they done to you? Stop you from a few championships? Walloped on your team for decades?

        I don’t get how you or others like you love to hate the LAKERS more then you live to love your own teams.

        Seriously, I would like a legit answer.

  8. antistratfordian - Jun 24, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    They could do worse, but this seems uninspired.

  9. billtetley53 - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    Malt: I like you dude, but tell your corner to throw in the towel!! Youre getting pummeled worse than Apollo Creed by Ivan Drago! (Or KB, by me, if you prefer)

    His point is that you and your fellow lakers fans , were running your mouths about things( a lot way more than you, but still, you said your share) and they turned out to be completely off base.

    You guys failed to realize that Dr. Buss dying and the different cba completely altered the landscape for your franchise. You failed to realize that at this stage of his career, Kobe is a deterrent to attracting free agents, nobody thats a superstar wants to play Ronin to his Batman. You failed to realize how greedy Kobe is. You failed to realize that LA isnt the big draw you think it is(great city to visit, but why would you want to live there?)
    Winning was what attracted talent.

    Kobe has torpedoed any chance for this team to contend as long as he is there.

    Ronertson deferred to Alcindor.
    Jabbar deferred to Magic
    Erving deferred to Malone etc. Get the picture?

    It was time for him to cede control and build a bridge to the future. He said its MY team and took a huge contract. How you guys are not angry at him, i dont know.

    Duncan takes less, they win a title, thst should have been Kobes M. O.

    Please just concede to sportsfan, hes got your fanbase dead to rights and I hate to see you tske any more of a beating than you have already.

    • unxpexted1 - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:32 AM

      Here this guy goes again, with Kobe needed to concede to somebody. But who is that person? Don’t worry….I’ll wait.

  10. billtetley53 - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    *compte, not concede.

    • billtetley53 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:09 AM

      Ugh compete!

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