Lakers hire Byron Scott as head coach, Magic Johnson happy

byron-scott-magic-johnson-lakersA few days ago, the LA Lakers have finally officially announced the hire of Byron Scott as the team’s new head coach. Scott and the team agreed in principle on a four-year, $17 million contract, according to ESPN.

“I am ecstatic to once again be a Laker and to have the opportunity to work alongside Mitch and the Buss family,” said Scott.

“I know firsthand what it takes to bring a championship to this city, and as someone who both grew up in L.A. and played the majority of my career here, I know how passionate and dedicated our fans are. I will give everything I have to fulfill the championship expectations that our supporters have for us, and that we have for ourselves.”

The Lakers practice facility was filled with surprise guests for Byron Scott’s introductory press conference as the new head coach of the team.

Former Lakers Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes were there to welcome Scott back to the Lakers family.

According to Magic Johnson, the late Dr. Buss wanted to make Scott the coach of the Lakers, before Scott decided to take the head coaching job in Cleveland.

“This is a great day for Dr. Buss, even though he’s not here,” Johnson told a group of reporters after Scott’s press conference, LakersNation reported.

“We (Johnson and Dr. Buss) were in the suite, he called me up there and he said Earvin, I would love, I think for Byron to coach this team one day.”

“And, Dr. Buss was going to make Byron the coach when Phil didn’t know what he was going to do. But, Byron took the Cleveland job and he took it too early and I called him and said B, you took the job too early, Dr. Buss wanted you to be the coach!” Johnson said.

Scott said he’s talked with Lakers management about its plan for the future and thinks things can turn around quickly despite the losses of Dwight Howard in 2013 and Pau Gasol this summer.

“It’s going to take some time, but I have all the confidence in the world in Mitch and Jim [Buss],” Scott said of the Lakers’ general manager and executive vice president of basketball operations. “I sat down with them a number of times and heard their plan, and I loved it.”

“They know what they’re doing. We’re going to head in the right direction. All I have do is go out there and make sure these guys are held accountable and doing what they’re supposed to do. If they do that, we’ll give ourselves a chance,” Scott added.

Byron Scott becomes the 25th head coach in franchise history and 21st in the Los Angeles era, after previously amassing 416 wins over 13 seasons as head coach with the New Jersey Nets (2000-2004), New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (2004-2009) and Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-2013).

Scott began his coaching career as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings for two seasons beginning in 1998.

The 2007-2008 NBA Coach of the Year has led his teams to the postseason four times, including back-to-back NBA Finals appearances with New Jersey in 2002 and 2003. Scott has also served as an NBA All-Star Game head coach on two occasions: 2002 (Eastern Conference) and 2008 (Western Conference).

Among his other coaching achievements, Scott was at the helm for the best season in franchise history of two teams: the 2007-08 Hornets who went 56-26 (.683) and the 2001-02 Eastern Conference Champion Nets who went 52-30 (.634).

Most recently, Scott was an on-air talent for a variety of Time Warner Cable SportsNet’s studio programming last season, his only full season away from the game as a coach or player since he entered the NBA in 1983.

Scott enjoyed a 14-year NBA career, 11 of which were spent with the Lakers (1983-93 and the 1996-97 season) with stints in Indiana (1993-95) and Vancouver (1995-96) in between.

Scott averaged double figures in scoring in all but one of his 14-year NBA career. He reached career-high 21.7 ppg in 1987-88. Career wise, Scott appeared in 1073 games (started 717), averaging 14.1 ppg in 28.1 mpg.


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