Byron Scott’s status to be a key topic for the Lakers in the off-season

Lakers Coach Byron Scott chuckles with assistant coach Paul Pressey and trainer Gary Vitti during the game against the Clippers on Wednesday.

Lakers Coach Byron Scott chuckles with assistant coach Paul Pressey and trainer Gary Vitti during the game against the Clippers on Wednesday.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

There’s a lot to be determined once the Lakers’ season ends, mainly what to do with Coach Byron Scott.

He has one more guaranteed year on his contract for about $4 million and he’ll have presided over the two worst seasons in Lakers history.

Team executives Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak have deliberately put off pondering Scott’s future until after this season. It might take a while, even after the Lakers’ season finale next Wednesday.


The team has until June 1 to notify Scott whether he’ll be retained, as per terms of his contract, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Scott has some sympathizers in the Lakers’ hierarchy. He has had to deal with Kobe Bryant’s eroding play while relying heavily on four young players — Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr.

There’s also some curiosity regarding what Scott would do with a better roster. With Bryant’s contract coming off the books, along with underperforming center Roy Hibbert, the Lakers will have about $55 million to spend on free agents this summer, likely enough to sign two maximum-salaried players.

But the Lakers were 21-61 last season and Wednesday clinched an even worse mark after losing to the Clippers, 91-81. With only four games left, the Lakers (16-62) will finish with the lowest winning percentage in their 68-year history.

If Scott got fired, he would be the third Lakers coach in a row to exit before his contract expired, joining Mike Brown, who was fired, and Mike D’Antoni, who resigned.

Scott, for his part, tried to analyze how he’d fared this season.

“Probably like our players — up and down,” he said Wednesday. “I’m very critical of myself. I think I could have done better. I still think I can do better. The thing I look at is I’ve got a bunch of young guys that I also have to sometimes treat with kid gloves as well. That’s the new me. That’s not the old me.”


Scott has been criticized for using a lot of “tough love” with the younger players, freely critiquing their deficiencies in interviews and often employing a no-nonsense approach.

“With our young guys, could I have probably done a better job? Probably so,” Scott said. “And I’ve got to look at that this summer. I’ve also got to look at how can I help them next year to get even better.”

At the same time, Scott said his communication skills had improved with the Lakers’ young nucleus, none of whom were over age 23.

“You have to get used to it,” he said. “I don’t think you have to give up who you are … but you do have to adapt and understand that now the communication level has to be much better.

“With these young guys, I’ve definitely done a better job of understanding that this is a different generation and that you have to communicate a lot differently instead of just, ‘I want you to run down the court, set a screen and come off a pick.’ When you hear the question ‘Why?’ you have to be able to explain that.”


Follow Mike Bresnahan on Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan