It's been almost three months since the Lakers last had a head coach. Some media outlets have reported the team struck a deal with Byron Scott on Saturday, but the Lakers have maintained nothing is official and negotiations are still taking place.
There are no Lakers news conferences scheduled for Monday, a person familiar with the situation said Sunday night, but the team privately says it hopes to reach an agreement soon with its preferred candidate.
Despite the Lakers' insistence that nothing was official, Scott said in a Saturday night telephone interview with KCBS-TV that he accepted the job and was making plans for the immediate future of a team that went 27-55 last season.
So … now what?
Is Byron Scott going to be the next coach of the Lakers?Full story >
If he's not, it will surprise almost everybody, including Scott himself, who said it felt “fantastic” to be the next Lakers coach in the KCBS-TV phone interview.
Then he talked about how he and Kobe Bryant “see the game in a similar way” and added that the Lakers needed to “get it done on the defensive end.”
It sure feels as if Scott and the Lakers will happen. Just a matter of time.
What has taken so long to get to this point?
Mike D'Antoni resigned April 30. It's almost as if the Lakers are overtly making up for the fact they took all of two days to decide D'Antoni (and not Phil Jackson) would replace Mike Brown when he was fired five games into the 2012-13 season.
Part of this was the bizarre situation of their roster — who exactly would be playing for them once free agency played out? And would Carmelo Anthony have had a problem with Scott, the preferred candidate for most of the coaching search?
Not to mention the Lakers actually had to pay attention to the draft this summer after so many years of disregarding it. Early returns: They did very well with Julius Randle, their first pick in the first round since 2007.
They've finally run out of things to do. Time to hire a coach.
New Orleans Hornets Coach Byron Scott, left, shares a laugh with referee Pat Fraher during a game against the Seattle SuperSonics in 2005. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Why are the Lakers saying there hasn’t been an official agreement?
Details are hard to track down, but the Lakers and Scott are still negotiating, according to people familiar with the situation.
There could be minor details such as whether Scott gets a hotel suite whenever the team is on the road. Or it could be something as major as years and money.
ESPN.com is reporting that the sides agreed to a four-year, $17-million deal with a team option for the fourth year.
Finally, lawyers must look at any written agreement when there is one. Then there could be counter-proposals and counter-counter-proposals, etc., based on what the attorneys find.
Scott’s coached three other teams but why does he keep getting fired?
Each city has a different story.
In New Jersey, he found success right away but ultimately his relationship deteriorated with Jason Kidd. Not a good thing.
In New Orleans, Scott had a better relationship with Chris Paul but couldn't get the Hornets far enough in the playoffs. He was fired nine games into the 2009-10 season but was really in trouble from the previous season's playoff failure, which included a 58-point loss to Denver in Game 4 of the first round.
In Cleveland, Scott took the job only a handful of days before LeBron James left the Cavaliers for Miami. Tough luck. For any coach.
Is Scott the coach of the future or is he just filling time?
Scott has some things to prove.
He's experienced great highs in his career, twice taking New Jersey to the NBA Finals in the early 2000s and winning NBA coach of the year with New Orleans in 2008.
But he's been fired from each of his three NBA jobs as head coach, most recently Cleveland in 2013.
If he uncorks some magic with a highly suspect roster, it might feel less as if he's simply filling time with the Lakers.
Lakers guard Byron Scott, left, defends against Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan during a Game 2 of the 1991 NBA Finals. (Associated Press)
Would Scott have gotten the job if he wasn’t an ex-Laker?
Three championships as a Lakers player was a plus. A huge one.
After hiring Brown (an unknown in Los Angeles at the time) followed by D'Antoni (known in Los Angeles, but only as the coach of Phoenix all those years), the Buss family wanted a candidate with NBA experience who, sure, resonated with Lakers followers.