Following the NBA Draft Lottery, it looks like the Los Angeles Lakers have officially kicked off their head coaching search. Earlier today it was reported that Los Angeles interviewed veteran coach Mike Dunleavy and now they’ve reportedly interviewed former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott.
Sources: Lakers interviewed Byron Scott for vacant head coaching position yesterday.
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) May 22, 2014
Byron Scott has been nothing than than an average head coach during his 13 years at the position. Outside of leading the then-New Jersey Nets to back-to-back Eastern Conference finals back in 2001 and 2002, success hasn’t been a constant factor in his coaching carer.
For the Lakers, Scott adds a hard-nosed, old school coach that would keep the team afloat for the next two years. He’s never led a fast-paced team a la Mike D’Antoni, striving for a more traditional look, one that could convince guys like Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to buy into the system.
Scott’s relationship with marquee shooting guard Kobe Bryant also factors into play here. The two were teammates during Bryant’s rookie season and odds are Bryant respects him and would vouch for him if Mitch Kupchak and company choose to seek Bryant’s input on the hiring.
Along with a relationship with star Kobe Bryant, Scott’s Los Angeles connection could lead to him earning the position. Drafted by the San Diego Clippers in 1983, the Lakers acquired the shooting guard in a would send Norm Nixon to San Diego. During his tenure as a Laker, Scott averaged 15.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists and won three NBA championships with the likes of Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
In regards to the Lakers position, Scott has a lot of thinking to do on whether this is the position for him. There hasn’t been many rumbles for Scott around the league from a coaching perspective, but taking the Lakers job would place him in an awkward position. Any coach that’s brought into LA will likely remain the head coach until Kobe Bryant’s contract runs out in two years unless they exceed all expectations. And based on the two coaches that have been interviewed for the position (Scott, Dunleavy), it feeds into the theory of the job being tied into Bryant’s last days. After this Scott could go elsewhere if suitors reach out to him, but if he fails to do a good job, this could be the last time he’s considered for a coaching gig in the NBA.
Like every other club in the league, the Lakers will want to make a hiring soon, so they can focus on player scouting as the team holds the seventh overall pick in the upcoming draft. It’s no guarantee it’ll be Scott, but within the next two weeks, Kupchak will likely have his man for the job.