In one of the early surprises of what should be a wild offseason, the New Orleans Hornets announced today that they will bring back coach Byron Scott next season.
Yes, the same Byron Scott who led the team to an unspectacular 49-33 record and seventh seed in the Western Conference this season, capped off by an embarrassing first-round loss to Denver in five games that will be remembered best for the 58-point beating the Nuggets unleashed on the Hornets in Game Four in on New Orleans's home floor.
But apparently none of this season's failures were enough to deter Hornets management from bringing Scott back next season. Either they've decided to give Scott one more season to reclaim his spot as the team's coach of that future, or maybe the thing about the $5.5 million they would have had to pay him regardless of his status with the team had something to do with the move.
But see, this article isn't meant to be a criticism of the Hornets. It may well be that in this economic climate, it would be fiscally irresponsible for a medium to small market team to terminate a coach with as much guaranteed money as Scott has in favor of a new coach who probably won't change the team's fortunes that much anyway.
New Orleans' announcement came just days after the rumors circulated that the Clippers retained comically-bad coach and GM Mike Dunleavy for similar reasons. I fully expect this trend to continue around the league, much as it did in the college game, where the coaching carousel slowed to a near-grinding halt.
The reality is that this is just one of the many changes the league will undergo as it becomes clearer and clearer that there is no quick fix to the economic recession that the country is entrenched in.
So sure, Hornets fans will have to endure another year of a perenially-mediocre coach who sat idly by this season as he watched his team gradually quit on him, but they should take solace in the fact that they can consider themselves pioneers of what should be a growing trend.
And hey, at least they aren't keeping Dunleavy around for one more season.