Yet, Scott said he was blindsided when the Lakers fired him last year.
How did he possibly get the idea he’d return for a third season?
Scott said he “felt betrayed, lied to and deceived” by former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and former executive Jim Buss. Though he had only two guaranteed years on his four-year contract, Scott contends that Kupchak and Jim Buss previously promised him they would exercise the team option for his third year. Scott also believes the Lakers used him to manage Bryant during his final seasons and farewell tour before making the coach a scapegoat for the franchise’s struggles.
“If I asked him to do certain things, Kobe would do it because of his respect for me,” said Scott, who mentored Bryant during his rookie season in 1996-97. “Basically, you just wanted me there to help you guys get through the next two years, so Kobe doesn’t go crazy on you guys. I would be the one that can handle it. They know me. I’m not going to back down. I’m not going to be intimidated by anybody.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if management said something Scott could have reasonably interpreted as a promise to keep him. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Scott heard what he wanted to hear.
The Jim Buss Lakers didn’t always feature the best lines of communication, and Scott was delusional.
Either way, the Lakers did the right thing in firing Scott. If he were hired to manage Kobe Bryant’s final seasons, Kobe retired. There was no more need for Scott, who neither related well to young players nor implemented a winning scheme – pretty much everything beyond handling Kobe.
The strangest part of Scott’s criticism is how it reflects on Kupchak, who has now been accused of both being too dishonest and too honest.