The Los Angeles Lakers have fired head coach Byron Scott, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
The Los Angeles Lakers have fired coach Byron Scott, league sources tell @TheVertical— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 25, 2016
Scott had one more year left on his contract, but it was a team option which the club declined to exercise. Scott is coming off of two consecutive seasons that were each the worst respectively in Lakers franchise history.
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Byron Scott has been relieved of duties coaching Lakers, @ocregister confirms. 3rd year of contract was team option that was not exercised.— Bill Oram (@billoram) April 25, 2016
The team made it official a short time later.
"We would like to thank Byron for his hard work, dedication and loyalty over the last two years, but have decided it is in the best interest of the organization to make a change at this time," said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak in a team release.
Scott, 55, was hired in the summer of 2014 for two very specific reasons. After disappointing and at times controversial seasons under Mike Brown and Mike D'Antoni, the Lakers wanted someone the organization knew and trusted to provide some stability for those in the front office.
More importantly, Scott was installed to ensure that Kobe Bryant would be ushered into retirement in the most comfortable way possible. Bryant was Scott's rookie on that 1996-97 Lakers squad, so there was a level of trust between the two that couldn't have been similarly achieved had L.A. hired a different head coach.
Now that Bryant is gone, there was literally no reason for Scott to stick around.
Scott talked a lot about improving things on the defensive end, but he has consistently shown an inability to coach in a way that would achieve the desired results. His teams have finished in the bottom five in the league in defensive efficiency in each of his last five seasons as a head coach (three with the Cavaliers from 2010-13), and his antiquated motivational tactics no longer seem to be a match for today's NBA.
Scott also showed an inability (and at times, an unwillingness) to develop the team's young players. The Lakers were never going to come close to contending for a playoff spot this season, and yet D'Angelo Russell, who was the No. 2 overall pick in last summer's draft, was ignored in crunch time for the majority of the year while veteran players were inexplicably given the bulk of those minutes.
Scott leaves with a record of 38-126 in two years as head coach.
Moving on was a wise choice by the Lakers, but the team may have waited a bit too long to make its decision. Two of the top available head coaching candidates have already been snatched up, with Tom Thibodeau going to the Timberwolves, and Scott Brooks agreeing to a deal with the Wizards.
Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton, former Cavaliers head coach David Blatt and UConn head coach Kevin Ollie are a few of the more attractive candidates the Lakers could look to as potential replacements.