The Los Angeles Lakers have fired head coach Byron Scott, reports Adrian Wojnarowski. If you live anywhere near Southern California, that sound you hear is millions of Lakers fans shouting hosannahs into the air.
Scott was hired before last season to oversee the transition from the Kobe Bryant Era to the Young Guns Era. Notwithstanding their ability to sign Kevin Durant or any other top tier free agent this summer, the Lakers’ future success hinges upon one of their young studs turning into a star. Despite that being quite obvious when Scott was hired, he has shown no facility at communicating with young players, and at times almost seemed to relish sabotaging their careers.
This was most apparent with point guard D’Angelo Russell, the number two pick in the 2015 draft. Scott bizarrely refused to play in during the fourth quarter at the beginning of his career, and later yanked away his (and Julius Randle’s) starting spot. He frequently said contradictory things about how his arcane methods were supposed to help young players develop, and had no qualms about ripping Russell in public.
In many ways, the Lakers are in an enviable position (especially if the lottery balls bounce their way, and they end up with a top three draft pick instead of having to send it to Philadelphia). They have whatever aura the Los Angeles Lakers still possess, a large fanbase, a couple of young players with high potential, and enough salary cap room to sign two max contract players.
If the Lakers play their cards right, they have the tools to emerge from their current nadir quite quickly. There will be plenty of tough decisions to make, but tonight the Lakers started by making the head-smackingly obvious one.