Does Kobe Bryant want Byron Scott to coach the Lakers? “Yep.”
Byron Scott has been the front-runner to land the Lakers coaching job from Day 1 — he’s a Buss family favorite who lets the Lakers sell the “we’re going with someone from inside the family” line. (Remember Scott was a shooting guard on the Showtime Lakers and has the rings to prove it.)
The Lakers have left the coaching door open as part of their package to entice free agents, but Scott was always the guy standing in the doorway. Wednesday he got a big endorsement — Kobe Bryant.
Via Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Kobe on Byron Scott: "He was my rookie mentor ... We've had a tremendously close relationship throughout the years"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 9, 2014
Asked if he wants Byron Scott to be the Lakers coach Kobe says "yep"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 9, 2014
Now, if this was 2006 Kobe and he had that kind of sway in the organization, Scott would be hired already. But the Lakers are looking at free agents that can lead them into the future (Carmelo Anthony remains dangling out there, even if there are now serious doubts) and if getting them the coach they want would help, that door is open.
Scott has coached more than 900 NBA games over all or part of 13 seasons, being named NBA coach of the year in 2008 (with Chris Paul and the Hornets) and having led the then New Jersey Nets to the NBA Finals in the Jason Kidd era. He’s an old school task master coach (the Pat Riley influence) but one who has been a player and gets that side of it. He struggled with his last job, three seasons in Cleveland trying to develop the Cavaliers talent and never winning more than 24 games.
As usual, in the end Kobe likely gets his way. And that means Scott coaching the Lakers. But that domino likely doesn’t fall until the Anthony one does.
By the way, Kobe said he’s like Anthony as a teammate. Shocking.