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"
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.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.