Now that the Los Angeles Lakers’ pie-in-the-sky plan to land LeBron James and/or Carmelo Anthony has fizzled out, the franchise is moving on to its next task at hand: Finding a new coach to replace Mike D’Antoni, who resigned April 30.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Lakers great Byron Scott “has been considered the leading candidate for the position for weeks, having gone through multiple interviews with management and having received an endorsement from none other than Kobe Bryant last week, even he likely would need another interview before being named coach,” according to a league source.
“Maybe we can wait until September,” Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak joked in an NBA TV interview conducted during the team’s summer-league win over Golden State on Monday. “Obviously that’s one of the next things that we’re going to address, and with putting the roster together and getting through the draft and getting through this last period, a week or two, the next thing we’re going to work on is the coach, and I think we’re going to have somebody in the next couple weeks.”
Scott has 12 full seasons of NBA head coaching experience with the Nets, Hornets and Cavaliers, but never won more than 24 games in three seasons as coach of the post-LeBron Cavaliers. He did, however, take the Nets to consecutive NBA finals in 2002 and 2003.
McMenamin reports that the Lakers contacted five other coaches besides Scott about the vacancy: Mike Dunleavy, Kurt Rambis, Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins and George Karl. Three of them — Hollis, Gentry and Rambis — were hired in various coaching capacities by other teams, while the talks with Karl were never all that serious, McMenamin says.
For now, the Lakers seem content to be the only NBA team without a head coach. The team, the only NBA squad without a coach, signed free agents Nick Young and Jordan Hill last week and traded for Jeremy Lin, giving Bryant some semblance of a supporting cast. Scott, for his part, is sure talking like he thinks he’ll be the team’s next coach.
“So, it’s just one of those things that’s a wait-and-see game right now, but like I said, I like the moves that they made today,” he told the Lakers’ television partner last week. “I think it’s going to help the team and strengthen the team, and obviously it still puts them in a good, flexible position for next year.”