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Fans won't hate Byron Scott on arrival, unlike departed Mike D'Antoni

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Byron Scott, who won three titles with the Lakers during the 'Showtime' era, would be returning home as coach

The Lakers may be close to hiring a head coach, negotiating with Byron Scott to fill the spot left vacant when Mike D'Antoni resigned at the end of April.

In Scott, the franchise would be installing a leader with longtime Lakers ties. Scott won three titles as a player during the Showtime era. He also played one year with a rookie Kobe Bryant during the 1996-97 season.

By contrast, D'Antoni arrived as a rival, coach of the team (Phoenix) that knocked the Lakers out of the playoffs two straight years in 2006 and 2007. He was never embraced by the Laker fan base.

The losing didn't help, whether it was D'Antoni's fault or the Lakers' epic run of bad luck (specifically injuries).

Coaching philosophy aside, Scott won't join the Lakers already hated by the fans, a chasm D'Antoni was never able to overcome. Instead he's a long-time Laker returning home.

Scott also has the respect of Bryant, important given how headstrong the All-Star guard can be.

If Bryant is on board, the rest of the Lakers should follow suit. The question then becomes talent -- is there enough on the roster for Scott to win?

Scott's biggest career mistake was taking the Cleveland Cavaliers job on July 2, 2010, less than a week before LeBron James announced his decision to leave Cleveland and join the Miami Heat.

The Lakers may not have an elite squad, but Scott, assuming he is indeed hired, will have a lot more to work with in Los Angeles than he did in Cleveland.

Scott has bright spots on his resume, taking the New Jersey Nets (now in Brooklyn) to back-to-back finals. He coached Jason Kidd before moving on to the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans), led by another elite point guard in Chris Paul.

The Lakers could have reached for a less experienced NBA coach, perhaps Kevin Ollie (who stayed at Connecticut), Derek Fisher (hired by the New York Knicks) or Steve Kerr (debuting with the Golden State Warriors).

Instead, the Lakers seem to have zeroed in on Scott, who has a 416-521 coaching record.

Taking over a team that limped to a 27-55 finish in the difficult Western Conference, Scott would have a difficult challenge ahead.

Scott's playoff record is 33-24 (57.9%) but his teams made the postseason just four times in 13 seasons.

Improving that to five in 14 tries won't be easy for Scott.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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