NBA Rumors: Kobe Bryant Would OK Lakers Hiring Bryon Scott

Byron Scott
Steve Mitchell USA TODAY Sports

It’s now a certainty: Kobe Bryant will have a say in the Los Angeles Lakers’ hiring of a new head coach.

Apparently, there are indications Bryant may already be eyeing a hire.

In an appearance on “SportsCenter” Thursday morning, ESPN NBA insider Chris Broussard reported Bryant is very close with Byron Scott. The two have been in communication over the past few weeks, dating back to the time Mike D’Antoni resigned, and Bryant would approve Scott as being the next head coach of the Lakers.

“They (Bryant and Scott) have a great relationship,” Broussard said. “Within the past few weeks, around the time Mike D’Antoni was let go, they had conversations or at least exchanged text messages about strategy, about how Kobe should work out in the offseason and what things he could do to get ready.

“Kobe Bryant, from everything I’m being told, would be fine with Byron Scott as head coach. … They didn’t pay (Kobe) two years, $48 million because of what he’s done in the past. They did it because they think he’s got a lot left. If Byron Scott were named coach, he’s a guy viewed as being able to get the most out of Kobe Bryant. He has a strong relationship with him, a good relationship with other players in the league, so Kobe Bryant would be fine with having Byron Scott as a head coach.”

It bodes well that Scott had a terrific playing career in Los Angeles, playing for the Lakers in two stints — from 1983-1993 and again in 1996-97 — which included three NBA championships.

In his first stint as a head coach with the New Jersey Nets, Scott took a struggling team and transformed them into a competitor within a year. Scott led New Jersey to the NBA Finals his second year, thanks in part to the emergence of Jason Kidd, but lost to the Lakers. The Nets returned in 2002-03, losing again, this time to the San Antonio Spurs.

Scott was fired midway through the 2003-04 season.

His latest coaching stints were not as successful. The New Orleans Hornets missed the postseason in the first three years with Scott at the helm. In his fourth year, New Orleans lost in the Western Conference semifinals, and a year later they were bounced in the opening round.

Scott was fired 12 games into the 2009-10 season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers then hired Scott in 2010-11 to replace the fired Mike Brown. The Cavs missed the playoffs in each of the three seasons with Scott on the sidelines, going a combined 64-166 in the three-year stint.

Other Lakers candidates included three of the premier college coaches: Kevin Ollie, Roy Williams and Coach K. Ollie has since re-upped his deal with Connecticut, while Coach K and Williams said no.

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