Byron Scott did not last too long in his tenure as the Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach. Late Sunday night, the Los Angeles Lakers fired Byron Scott, according to the Los Angeles Times. Scott coached the Lakers to a pathetic 38-126 record during two years in Tinseltown when the team was obviously rebuilding.
From former Lakers’ shooting guard to head coach to the firing line quickly. Byron Scott lasted but two seasons coaching his former team, for whom he helped led to three NBA titles as a player. Scott was fired after completing the second year of a three-year agreement. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was the first to break the story regarding the Lakers’ firing of Byron Scott. Scott never seemed to have a chance at a successful Lakers’ tenure.
Armed with a slew of first- and second-year players, the clear message the Los Angeles Lakers were sending to their fans was that it will be a tough next few years. Not even an aging Kobe Bryant and former NBA all-star center Roy Hibbert could make the Lakers respectable. One of the NBA’s most storied franchises became a shell of itself. It is a sharp decline that began before Byron Scott was hired. No one expected much this season from the Lakers except for the development of the team’s young players. The “Showtime” Lakers became an afterthought.
In truth, there were only two things that were worth watching for as far as the Los Angeles Lakers were concerned. One was D’Angelo Russell’s controversial video confession (courtesy of the New York Times) of guard Nick Young’s road antics. The other was the retirement of Kobe Bryant.
While Kobe Bryant’s retirement made the Lakers a watchable basketball product, what happened between Russell and Young could have destroyed the team internally.
The Lakers, coming off another disappointing season, have decided to change the course of the franchise. Those who have made the decisions since former Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson left the team will be in charge again.
According to a tweet by the New York Daily News’ Mark Medina, it was the Los Angeles Lakers team executives Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak who made the decision to fire Byron Scott. They will undoubtedly be front and center when they hire his replacement.
Who are the potential candidates to replace Byron Scott in Tinseltown? There are a few interesting names, but the question is a simple one. Would either of the top coaching candidates be interested in coaching and rebuilding the Los Angeles Lakers? ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne tweeted out a list of coaches that the Lakers would be interested in.
Most people will want the Lakers to go after Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton. Walton, a former Lakers’ player and an integral part of three NBA Championships, is currently focused on helping the Warriors repeat as champions. He is the hottest coaching candidate that is available. Will he want any part of a Los Angeles Lakers’ reboot?
The Lakers’ job is better than the New York Knicks’ vacancy only because of proximity and overall prestige. Even during the recent dark times, the Lakers were regularly in nationally-televised games. Keep in mind that the television schedule came out well before Kobe Bryant announced his plans to retire.
Even with the acquisition of a major free-agent such as Kevin Durant, the Lakers would struggle to make the NBA Playoffs in a loaded Western Conference. It may take three or four more years before the Lakers get a sniff at the postseason.
Another thing that must be considered is just how swiftly the dismissal of Byron Scott took place. Scott was only given two seasons to try and develop young players. Why would Luke Walton leave a great situation in Golden State for an uncertain one with the Los Angeles Lakers?
The same question goes for the other possible coaching candidates Kevin Ollie, Jay Wright, and Ettore Messina.
One name to keep an eye on is Monty Williams. That is if he wants to coach again after mourning the death of his wife.
The Minnesota Timberwolves did reach out to Monty Williams about the vacancy that they had, but they were rebuffed. Could the bright lights of Los Angeles be enough to change his mind?
He is not among the names of the candidates that the Los Angeles Lakers rumored to be interested in, but he is the type of coach who makes sense in Tinseltown.
Williams is a tough-as-nails coach, who did not get the credit he deserved in guiding the New Orleans Pelicans to the NBA Playoffs last season. He is also the coach who developed rising star Anthony Davis. His focus on discipline and defense would give the Lakers an identity. Under Byron Scott, the Lakers failed to create a style of play in which they can hang their hats on. Monty Williams could be the coach to do so if his heart can ever get into coaching again.
As of now, there are no favorites to land the Lakers’ job, but if the aforementioned Luke Walton were to be interested, he will be the top candidate.
Whoever the Los Angeles Lakers hire, he must be ready for a long rebuilding process. Understanding that the Lakers have been rebuilding for the past two, maybe three years, the front office have to get this hire right.
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