With Byron Scott taking the last open slot in this year’s edition of the NBA head coaching fraternity, the Los Angeles Lakers have their new head coach. Scott, who played for the Lakers during the Showtime era and won three championships with the team, has enjoyed a long and successful coaching career since retiring from the game in 1998, earning a Coach of the Year nod in 2008. He coached the New Jersey Nets (now based in Brooklyn), the New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans) and the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as worked as an assistant in Sacramento. Scott will be paid $17 million over four years for his new gig, which he described to ESPN as “a dream come true.”
Scott joins Derek Fisher, Lionel Hollins, Jason Kidd, David Blatt, Stan Van Gundy, Steve Kerr, Flip Saunders, and Quin Snyder in the new head coaches bracket this year. Hollins, Van Gundy, Scott, and Saunders are established coaches, while Kerr, Fischer, Blatt, and Snyder are first timers. Kidd, who spent his first year in Brooklyn, is in his sophomore season. Only two teams that changed coaches — Brooklyn (which hired Hollins) and Golden State (Kerr) — managed to make the playoffs last year.
The Lakers had reached out to five other coaches before arriving at the decision to hire Scott — Kurt Rambis, Lionel Hollins, Mike Dunleavy, George Karl, and Alvin Gentry, according to ESPN. They ultimately went with Scott because of his experience with the organization and his close relationship with Kobe Bryant, who was a rookie with L.A. when Scott was still on the team.