It has begun.
The Los Angeles Lakers have officially started searching for Mike D'Antoni's replacement, and per ESPN's Chris Broussard, they may have eyes for a familiar face:
Sources: Lakers interviewed Byron Scott for vacant head coaching position yesterday.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) May 22, 2014
UPDATE: Thursday, May 22, at 12:55 p.m. ET by Dan Favale
Scott himself offered clarification on his situation with the Lakers, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
Let's see if that meeting turns into anything significant.
Byron Scott spent 11 years with the Lakers as a player, during which time he won three NBA titles. Kobe Bryant and him were even teammates for, like, a second. Scott's final season with the Lakers—and in the league, for that matter—was the Black Mamba's rookie year.
General manager Mitch Kupchak basically confirmed the report while on a conference call, though he didn't mention any specific names.
"I'm sure (coaching candidate) names will come out within the next couple of days, but we have started our process and we intend to continue the process in terms of talking to potential coaches, whether they're informal or formal interviews," Kupchak said, via Sam Amick of USA Today.
Amick himself was more direct. A source told him that the Lakers did in fact interview Scott. So there you go.
Most recently, Scott spent three seasons manning the Cleveland Cavaliers, with whom he received the rawest of deals. They never won more than 24 games with him at the helm, but he came in just after LeBron James left for the Miami Heat, and Cleveland handed him an underwhelming roster and expected him to be an upgrade over Mike Brown—who, by the way, has been hired and fired again since the Cavs let Scott go in 2012.
Before coaching in Cleveland, Scott had two more successful stops in New Orleans and New Jersey. He's best known for his work with the then-New Jersey Nets, during the Jason Kidd era, when they won consecutive Eastern Conference titles.
Prior to the Lakers officially beginning their coaching search, Scott's name cropped up among the list of potential options, partially because he declared his own candidacy:
Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding also explained how his ties to Bryant make him a natural fit for Los Angeles:
The Lakers' approach will be to some extent about meeting Bryant halfway, especially when the team doesn't have much to look forward to next season except Bryant's triumphant return that didn't stick in 2013-14.
It makes sense that Bryant will be featured under the new coach, who is more likely to be a veteran who reveres Bryant, such as Byron Scott or Mike Dunleavy, or a newbie who knows him well, such as Quin Snyder or Derek Fisher.
Attempting to appease Bryant would suggest the Lakers aren't making next season their sacrificial lamb and instead have plans to boost their standing through free agency. But it's still too early to tell.
Kupchak isn't in any rush to fill the team's coaching void. There are other candidates he will interview. He has already spoken with Mike Dunleavy, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
Who would be the best head coach for the Lakers?
First, what's with all the Mikes? After Phil Jackson there was Mike Brown. Then Mike D'Antoni. Now Mike Dunleavy?
And yes, this is the same Mike Dunleavy who has won just over 46 percent of his games through 17 years as a head coach. The same Mike Dunleavy who hasn't coached since 2009-10, when he steered the Los Angeles Clippers to a (not-so-)whopping 21 wins in 49 games.
That Mike Dunleavy.
If he ends up being Scott's greatest competition, we should all like Byron's chances.