Byron Scott Fired by Lakers: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist

Los Angeles Lakers' Byron Scott in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Monday, March 30, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers announced they have fired head coach Byron Scott on Sunday following the team's third consecutive season of missing the playoffs.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical initially reported the news, citing sources. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith confirmed the move.

General manager Mitch Kupchak spoke about the decision in the team's announcement:

"We would like to thank Byron for his hard work, dedication and loyalty over the last two years, but have decided it is in the best interest of the organization to make a change at this time." 

On Monday, Kupchak said it was "clearly just a basketball decision. ... Jim (Buss) and I agreed 100 percent," per the team's official Twitter account.

Jeanie Buss said she didn't know Scott was going to be removed as the Lakers' coach, per Kristine Leahy of The Herd.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com reported the Lakers had a team option for next season due to performance incentives outlined in Scott's contract. He did not meet them during his tenure.

Bill Oram of the Orange Country Register noted the decision to fire Scott was Kupchak and Jim Buss' decision.

One of those sad to see Scott go is Lakers rookie Larry Nance Jr., per Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News:

With Scott now out of Los Angeles, the Lakers have made looking for a new head coach a constant process, as noted by Arash Markazi of ESPN.com:

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Just spoke with Larry Nance Jr., who said he was a "big fan" of Byron Scott & thanked him for the opportunities he received this year

Arash Markazi @ArashMarkazi

With Byron Scott out, the Lakers will now be looking for their sixth head coach since 2011.

Scott, who played the first decade of his career with the Lakers and returned to L.A. early in the Kobe Bryant era, took over as the head coach in July 2014 after the team missed the postseason for the first time since 2005. The Lakers tasked him with leading the organization through a transitional phase with an eye toward life after Bryant.

Finding signs of progress was difficult, however, as the team finished 21-61 in 2014-15 and had a franchise-worst record of 17-65 this past season.

The former shooting guard found success early in his coaching career with the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets. He led the franchise to the NBA Finals twice within his first three years in charge after spending some time as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings.

He's struggled to replicate that prosperity in the opportunities that have followed, though. He went 203-216 with two playoff appearances during six years in New Orleans and struggled mightily with an undermanned roster in Cleveland, going 64-166 across three seasons.

Any hope his past experience with the Lakers could help him get the franchise moving back toward its former glory faded as the team's on-court performance remained stagnant during his tenure.

His stance on player development also caused a stir at a time when the Lakers weren't in line to compete for a playoff spot, let alone contend for championships. Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com passed along Scott's comments on the issue in early November.

"I'm not always thinking about necessarily developing them. I'm always thinking about trying to win. I'm always thinking about trying to win," Scott said. "The development part comes secondary to that, but in practice and everything is where you really work on the development part."

While every coach wants to win, Scott should have made sure young players such as D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle were gaining valuable experience in key situations. That's the biggest thing the Lakers could have taken out of the season, as those two theoretically represent the future of the franchise. Instead, Scott frequently toyed with their minutes, moving both to the bench for extended stretches of the season.

Ultimately, the Lakers front office decided it was time to start moving in a different direction. The team can't blame Scott entirely for the struggles because of the limited amount of talent on the roster, but the lack of progress from Los Angeles' young players was a major issue.

The Lakers' fanbase doesn't have a ton of patience to wait through a rebuilding process, either. Given the team's limited amount of progress since Scott took over, the organization will surely welcome a new vision.


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