After three head coach-less months, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly named the front man that almost everyone expected.
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported Saturday that Byron Scott is the next head coach in L.A.:
Lakers have agreed to terms with Byron Scott to be their next head coach— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 27, 2014
Lakers deal with Byron Scott will be four years, $17 million— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 27, 2014
The former NBA standout is returning to Los Angeles after a decorated 11-year playing career there, winning three titles in his time with the franchise. He's been the front-runner throughout much of the Lakers' slow-paced coaching search, and Kobe Bryant got his wish in seeing his former teammate named coach.
The move is set to be announced with a Monday presser, per Los Angeles Daily News' Mark Medina:
I'm told Byron Scott hopes to have his press conference on Monday. But not clear at this point— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) July 27, 2014
Although Scott has a Laker pedigree, he's far from the only former player to take over, as ESPN's Arash Markazi noted:
Byron Scott is the seventh former Laker to take over as the team's head coach.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 27, 2014
ESPN Stats & Information summed up both sides—the good and the bad—of Scott's resume:
Byron Scott: Reached 2 NBA Finals with Nets (2002, 2003) 2007-08 NBA Coach of the Year Won 3 NBA titles as a player with the @Lakers— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 27, 2014
New Lakers coach Byron Scott: 416-521 record in 13 seasons as NBA head coach (Nets, Hornets, Cavaliers)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 27, 2014
Twitter ignited with all sorts of reactions, including this one from NBA writer Seerat Sohi:
Byron Scott is a good long term hire for LAL because not too many people are *really* gonna care when he's eventually scapegoated— Seerat Sohi (@DamianTrillard) July 27, 2014
It literally took months for Scott to the Lakers to become finalized, sparking this tweet from Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell:
It took longer for the Lakers to hire Byron Scott than some marriages last...non-Kardashian marriages.— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) July 27, 2014
CBS Sports' Tony Moss dug hard for a sweet statistic regarding Bryant and his new coach:
May 8, 1997: Byron Scott and Kobe Bryant combine for 29 points in a playoff win over Jazz. Their most recent win together.— Tony Moss (CBS) (@alylemoss) July 27, 2014
Russ Bengtson of Complex seems more impressed with the hire than some of L.A.'s free-agency moves:
Byron Scott should start over Carlos Boozer tbh.— Russ Bengtson (@russbengtson) July 27, 2014
Sports On Earth's Sean Highkin jabbed that the coaching situation in L.A. might look a bit different if Kevin Durant hits free agency in 2016:
4 years $17 million is basically a 2-year deal with a signing bonus tacked onto the back end because Durant will get to pick his coach.— Sean Highkin (@highkin) July 27, 2014
B/R's Mike Freeman expects Scott to follow in the shoes of recently fired Mike D'Antoni and Mike Brown:
Byron Scott next Lakers coach to be fired.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) July 27, 2014
Not all of the reactions were negative, as UK End Zone's Ollie Connolly was quite impressed with the move:
Byron Scott will be an All Time GREAT hire. Should have coached the Knicks. Congrats Laker Nation— Ollie Connolly (@OllieUKEZ) July 27, 2014
Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters posted a video report on the news:
Lakers fans, say hello to your new head coach, Byron Scott http://t.co/5cwWmxjm1D— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 27, 2014
Scott hasn't gotten a great rap in the league recently after a woeful stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he has proven to be a great motivator and relates to his players. He took the New Jersey Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, along with some success with Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets.
Is hiring Byron Scott the right move for L.A.?
L.A. kept all of its coaching options open entering free agency, but Scott is the obvious choice given how it all unfolded. He’ll be able to gain respect in a locker room that hasn’t had much for its coaches as of late.
With the Lakers far from contending for a championship, Scott’s arrival may allow for a strong culture to be created—in which case, the 53-year-old could avoid following his predecessors with an early exit even if there’s little immediate success.
His overall coaching record isn’t the most desirable, in large part because Scott hasn’t backed down from tough situations, like trying to rebuild the Cavs.
While the Lakers aren’t in a rebuild, they’re certainly far from stable. A coach like Scott just might bring the coaching stability that L.A. has lacked since Phil Jackson stepped down.