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Magic Johnson: Jerry Buss wanted Byron Scott to coach Lakers

Magic Johnson was on hand on Monday when the Lakers welcomed his former teammate, Byron Scott, as the Lakers' next head coach.

Had Scott not taken the Cleveland Cavaliers job in 2010, he might have been hired by then-owner Jerry Buss after Phil Jackson retired after the 2010-11 season.

"Dr. Buss was going to make Byron the coach when Phil didn't know what he was going to do" in 2010, said Johnson.  "Byron took the Cleveland job, and he took it too early.  I called and said: 'B., you took the job too early.  Dr. Buss wanted you to be the coach."

With Scott tied up with the LeBron James-less Cavaliers, the Lakers hired Mike Brown in 2011.  Brown was let go early into the 2012-13 season, replaced by Mike D'Antoni -- who in turn resigned in April.

Scott had three dismal years with the rebuilding Cavaliers before he was let go in 2013.  Brown replaced Scott in Cleveland, but lasted just a season after a 33-49 record.  Buss died in February 2013 after a lengthy battle with cancer.


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Lakers use balance of 'room exception' on Xavier Henry

For the first time since 1996, the Lakers this summer went under the salary cap, using their spending power to acquire Jeremy Lin in trade from the Houston Rockets and sign Nick Young to a four-year, $21.3-million contract.

Once the team climbed back over the cap ($63.1 million for the 2014-15 season), they gained a $2.732 million "room exception," of which $1.65 million went to re-sign power forward Ryan Kelly -- leaving a remainder of $1.082 million.

On Friday, the Lakers re-signed Xavier Henry on what was originally believed to be a one-year deal at a minimum salary of $980,431.

Instead, Henry received an additional $101,569 -- the $1.082-million sliver available from the Lakers' room exception.

With both the exception and the team's cap room spent, the Lakers can only dole out minimum salaries to sign additional free agents.

The Lakers have 12 players under contract and are expected to sign rookie guard Jordan Clarkson (46th) at a salary starting at the rookie minimum of $507,336.


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Byron Scott: Right guy for the job, but what are the expectations?

The Lakers won’t win the NBA championship next season.

Too much age. Too many injury questions. Too much Western Conference.

And unless they get a much-needed infusion from the free-agent market next summer (Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge?), they won’t be in the title hunt in 2015-16, the final season of Kobe Bryant’s contract.

It’s why hiring a former Lakers player is a sensible move for the franchise from a PR standpoint.

It’s hard to imagine any “Fire Byron” chants from the upper levels of Staples Center. No more “We Want Phil!” shouts from dissatisfied fans.

A coach with three championships as a Lakers player should buy some time for a franchise that sorely needs it.

But … there's ... reality.

There’s not much Scott, 53, can do with a roster that has an aging backcourt of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, along with a couple of recent castoffs from other teams (Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer).

There will be some youthful vigor from Julius Randle and possibly second-round draft pick Jordan...

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Byron Scott will help get Lakers back on track

Can the Lakers rebound from last year's injury-plagued, defenseless travesty of a 27-win season under Mike D'Antoni?

It would be hard for any coach not to do better than that, but Byron Scott is the right hire to help get the Lakers back on track.

“[We'll] play hard every single night, and we’ll come ready to defend," Scott said Tuesday at his introductory news conference at the Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo.

Scott preached the words so many fans wanted and needed to hear, after the Lakers gave up 109.2 points a game last season -- second-worst in the NBA.

“The one thing I told [General Manager] Mitch [Kupchak] and [owner/executive] Jim [Buss] at our last meeting, was that I thought they put a roster together that will be very competitive," Scott said.  "The main thing I have to do right away is establish ourselves as a defensive basketball team."

The Lakers, as currently constructed, do not look like a playoff team in the Western Conference but Scott has a key ally in Kobe...

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Byron Scott: Lakers fans hail the new coach on social media

Byron Scott gave his first news conference as Lakers head coach Tuesday, to the excitement of many fans on Twitter.

Chris Manning tweeted: "Happy to see Byron Scott joining the Lakers as their new head coach. Finally someone with some purple and yellow in his blood."

The Lakers officially hired Scott on Monday, signing him to a $17-million, four-year contract with a team option for the fourth year.

Scott played at Inglewood Morningside High and then for 11 seasons with the Lakers, where he was part of the 1985, 1987 and 1988 championships.

A chorus of social-media users, eager to see the Lakers move past a 27-55 season and a last-place finish in the Pacific division, joined Manning in heralding the homecoming.

David Walters tweeted: "Magic, Kareem, and Wilkes all at Byron Scott's press conference. Why didn't we hire him 3 years ago? #LakersFamily"

The Lakers' official Twitter account carried a photo of Scott’s steely stare and emphasized the coach’s Los Angeles roots: "OFFICIAL:...

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Transcript of Byron Scott's news conference

The Lakers introduced their new coach, former Showtime member Byron Scott, at a news conference Tuesday. It began with surprise appearances by former Lakers greats Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes, and included an introduction and comments by Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. The questions that begin in the middle of the transcript were posed by members of the media on hand.

Mitch Kupchak

“Before I begin and introduce Byron, I just want to thank him for his patience. Over the last six or seven weeks, it was always clear to us that Byron was our first choice, and we did multiple interviews and stayed in touch. But in this business, when time plays out and things linger, I know there’s some uncertainty and tension and testing of patience. Here we are, introducing Byron Scott as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, so thank you for sticking with us and being patient over the last six or seven weeks.

“Before I introduce Byron, I’d like to introduce some of his...

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Byron Scott's news conference
Byron Scott always saw something special in Kobe Bryant

There was once an 18-year-old who scored 24 points against the Golden State Warriors, a kid trying to make his way on one of the most influential franchises of all time.

"He has no idea," Byron Scott said back in 1997, "He's just playing and having fun and enjoying himself. He knows he wants to win a championship. But I don't think he knows all the stuff that goes with it."

The "he" would be Kobe Bryant, who had all the talent and all the desire but needed a few years to turn that into the first of five championships he would win with the Lakers.

Scott was a 35-year-old shooting guard near the end of his career when he re-signed with the Lakers for one last symbolic season before calling it quits on a 14-year run as an NBA player. The Lakers had obtained Bryant in a trade with Charlotte two months earlier, in July 1996.

Now they'll be reunited as Scott becomes the team's head coach.

When Bryant was starting out in the NBA, he always gravitated to older teammates such as Scottand Derek...

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Lakers hire Byron Scott as their new coach

The Lakers have officially hired Byron Scott as their next coach, ending a search of almost three months by choosing a familiar name to Lakers followers.

He comes with a built-in advantage over the last two Lakers coaches because he didn't replace Phil Jackson in 2011 and wasn't chosen instead of Jackson in 2012.

He also has a solid relationship with Kobe Bryant and the Buss family, not to mention familiarity with Lakers fans who remember his role on three championship teams in the 1980s.

Scott, 53, has a four-year deal for $17 million, with a team option for the fourth year. A news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Lakers' training facility in El Segundo.

The trick for Scott, who will be coaching his fourth NBA team, is getting the most of a patchwork roster composed of an aging veteran (Bryant), an injury-prone one (Steve Nash), an amnesty-waiver discard (Carlos Boozer), a point guard who lost his starting job last season (Jeremy Lin) and a promising lottery pick...

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First look: Who will be on Lakers Coach Byron Scott's coaching staff

Byron Scott will take over as Lakers coach, replacing Mike D'Antoni who resigned in April, but who will join Scott on his bench?

Currently the Lakers have Johnny Davis, hired under D'Antoni last summer, still under contract for the coming season. Teams often let assistants out of their contracts to change jobs and Davis has been linked to Lionel Hollins of the Brooklyn Nets, but as of now he's a part of Scott's staff.

Player development coaches Mark Madsen and Larry Lewis are also both under contract, recently co-coaching the Lakers' summer league squad in Las Vegas. The pair may be likely to stick around, at least for Scott's debut season.

Dan D'Antoni, an assistant last season, left about a week before his brother Mike gave notice, choosing to coach at Marshall University.

Scott's former teammate with the Showtime Lakers Kurt Rambis, also an assistant last year under D'Antoni, recently departed to join Derek Fisher's staff with the New York Knicks.

According to Gery Woelfel of the...

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New Lakers Coach Byron Scott's coaching record

New Lakers' Coach Byron Scott will be charged with helping the franchise rebound from a 27-55 season.

Scott has coached 13 years in the NBA, starting with the 26-56 Stephon Marbury New Jersey Nets (since relocated to Brooklyn).

In the summer of 2001, the Nets acquired Jason Kidd, quickly ascending to Eastern Conference champions in both 2002 and 2003 after 52 and 49-win seasons, respectively.

The Lakers knocked out the Nets in the 2002 NBA Finals; the Spurs did the same the following year.

Scott was fired by the Nets after a 22-20 start, midway through the 2003-04 season. He was quickly hired to coach the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans), the year point guard Baron Davis was traded midseason to the Golden State Warriors.

By virtue of a difficult 18-64 season, the Hornets were able to land Chris Paul with the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft. The team quickly improved to 38-44 and 39-43 through the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.

Scott was named NBA coach of the year the...

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Lakers' roster climbs to 12 with Monday signing of Wesley Johnson

The Lakers officially increased their roster to 12 on Monday with the re-signing of forward Wesley Johnson.

"I’m happy to welcome Wesley back to our team and am excited to see him develop further after taking such great strides last season," said General Manager Mitch Kupchak in a statement. "Wesley possesses elite athleticism, and has the potential to develop into an excellent defender."

Although the team didn't release terms of Johnson's contract, it's thought to be for one year at the $981,084 minimum.

By the complex rules of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, returning on a one-year deal gives Johnson the ability to block a trade -- should the Lakers choose to move him before the deadline in February.

Johnson could end up in the starting lineup this season at small forward, or off the bench, perhaps behind Xavier Henry, who re-signed last week.

Last season, Johnson averaged 9.1 points and 4.4 rebounds through 79 appearances. The 27-year old, 6-foot-7 Johnson was originally...

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