US EUROPE AFRICA ASIA 中文
Sports / Basketball

Scott says he will be Lakers' new coach

By Associated Press in Los Angeles (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-29 06:52

The Los Angeles Lakers have waited nearly three months to hire a new coach, and they are apparently making Byron Scott wait a few more days.

Scott said over the weekend he has been hired by the Lakers, but the club insisted on Sunday no deal had been reached.

Scott, who won three NBA titles as a shooting guard for the Lakers, told KCBS-TV he will take over the club, which has not had a coach since Mike D'Antoni resigned on April 30.

"It feels fantastic," he told KCBS. "This is a dream come true. I always wanted to coach the Lakers, especially when I got to coaching. It's so unreal. I have to thank (general manager) Mitch (Kupchak), (owners) Jeanie and Jim Buss to give me this opportunity."

Yet Kupchak and the Buss siblings remained silent on Sunday, extending their strange coach-less summer to the final days of July.

ESPN.com first reported Scott would take over the Lakers with a four-year, $17 million contract.

Scott is undoubtedly qualified for the job after stints as a head coach with New Jersey, New Orleans and Cleveland.

He was Kobe Bryant's teammate during Bryant's rookie year with the Lakers in 1996-97, and the superstar endorsed Scott for the job.

"He was my rookie mentor when I first came in the league, so I had to do things like get him donuts and run errands for him, things like that," said Bryant, who played just six games last season.

"We've had a tremendously close relationship throughout the years."

Scott also spent last season as a television commentator on the Lakers' network, watching the franchise's implosion up close.

Los Angeles finished 27-55 last season, compiling the most losses in the 16-time NBA champion's history.

The Lakers had their worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers' 1957-58 season, missing the playoffs for just the third time in 38 seasons as the NBA's most glamorous franchise was reduced to ineptitude.

Scott will be the Lakers' fifth head coach in just more than three years, starting with Phil Jackson's departure after the 2010-11 season. D'Antoni, who replaced Mike Brown and interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff, resigned after going 67-87 in less than two seasons.

Scott has been a head coach for parts of 13 NBA seasons, going 416-521 with the Nets, Hornets and Cavaliers. He led New Jersey to back-to-back Eastern Conference championships in 2002-03, losing in the NBA Finals each time.

Scott has won three division titles and was the NBA's coach of the year in 2008, but he also has been fired from each of his three jobs.

Several candidates for the coaching job interviewed with the Lakers over the past three months, including Lionel Hollins and George Karl. Scott has been widely considered the front-runner for the job for several weeks, but Kupchak and Jim Buss appeared to be more focused on the NBA draft and free agency.

Los Angeles landed Kentucky power forward Julius Randle with the seventh overall pick in the draft, but struck out on every big-name free agent despite aggressively courting Carmelo Anthony and entertaining dreams of landing LeBron James.

The Lakers could not even retain Pau Gasol, who spent the past seven seasons with the club. The 7-foot Spaniard, who was regularly booed by Staples Center fans last season despite his two championship rings, spurned the Lakers' overtures for a deal with the Chicago Bulls, who are much closer to NBA title contention.

 Scott says he will be Lakers' new coach

Former LA Laker Byron Scott is confident he will be coaching the team next season. File Photo

(China Daily 07/29/2014 page23)

Most Popular
What's Hot
Highlights
Special
...