After three interviews, fan frustration, wild speculation and a drawn out coaching search that resulted in unbelievable rumors, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly agreed to terms with Byron Scott to become the team's head coach.
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The deal is for four years and $17 million, ESPN Los Angeles reported.
The Lakers told NBC4 an announcement would be made when the deal was struck.
The calendar read April when Mike D’Antoni vacated the position, but the Lakers immediately made it clear that they were in no hurry to find a replacement. Nearly three months later, however, fans were losing patience and some NBA analysts were simply losing their heads.
In the week leading up to Scott being offered the Lakers’ coaching gig, ESPN’s Bill Simmons went on a national radio show and proclaimed that it was “obvious” that the Lakers were waiting around to see whether Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers would step away from that franchise’s toxic ownership situation.
Not for the first time, a baseless story about the Lakers found legs and garnered national media attention.
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More likely, the Lakers’ front office maintained a consistent dialogue with Scott as it worked to fill out the Lakers’ roster. With a parade of Ed Davis, Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer contract signings and media presentations complete, the Lakers’ roster was all but set when news of Scott being offered the vacancy seeped through the cracks and onto the scrolling headlines at the bottom of the screen.
On Friday, ESPN was first to report that Scott and the Lakers were engaged in negotiations. The LA Daily News then reported that Scott was offered the position late Thursday night.
With the Lakers’ roster almost set—rookie Jordan Clarkson and swing man Wesley Johnson remain the only players not yet signed—the front office methodically moved forward from the roster to the coach. Scott, who was portrayed as the front runner for the months leading up to the announcement, finally received the expected phone call and appeared to move quickly to accept the position and begin negotiating terms.
Worth mentioning, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne earlier reported George Karl earned a great deal of consideration from the Lakers’ front office. Ultimately, Scott was the Lakers’ top choice, and they got their man.
Previously, Scott led the New Jersey Nets to the NBA Finals twice and received NBA Coach of the Year honors with the New Orleans Hornets. As a player, Scott was a notable member of the “Showtime” Lakers and won three championships in the 1980s.
In his final NBA season, Scott served as Kobe Bryant’s rookie mentor, and Bryant explicitly endorsed Scott when asked whether he would like to see the 53-year-old patrolling the sidelines at Staples Center.
With Scott agreeing terms, the Lakers now have a near complete roster and a head coach.