The Lakers’ hopeful free agent summer is over. LeBron James went back home to Cleveland. Carmelo Anthony remained with the New York Knicks.
Instead, one of the most treasured franchises in the National Basketball Association managed to draw frowns with the acquisitions of Jeremy Lin in a trade from Houston and the resigning of Nick Young and Jordan Hill.
Oh, they also locked up their first round draft pick, Julius Randal, for the next three years in a multi-year.
Now, the Lakers brass of Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss must decide is who will coach this odd cast of players that will also include Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant.
The leading candidate mentioned for the past several days and weeks has been former Laker star and Morningside High graduate Byron Scott.
Scott has had several meetings with Lakers brass and they have discussed everything from strategy to who the assistants will be – everything, except for a contract.
He starred with the Lakers for 10 seasons and was a key component of the Showtime era with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and James Worthy.
For years it seems that he has been their ideal candidate, one that probably would have been hired already if the late Dr. Jerry Buss were alive.
But, these are not the Dr. Buss Lakers. That much was apparent when the team could not convince Dwight Howard to stay last season and entice Anthony to leave New York to come.
This Laker front office pushed all of their chips in the middle of the court for Bryant and a big nugget for Nash, two players closer to the end of their once promising careers.
The mystery of the lack of movement in securing Scott to become their next coach, especially after he was opening endorsed by Bryant, who he was once a teammate with, is confusing.
Either he Lakers are moving away from Scott who has eight losing seasons on his 13 season coaching resume, or they have already decided to hire him.
Scott’s 416-521 career mark as coach is rather deceiving. In New Jersey he led the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals in 2001 and 2002.
However, in six seasons with New Orleans – when he coached both Baron Davis and Chris Paul – his teams were vastly inexperienced and lacking the essential talent to compete for championships.
Then in Cleveland the past three years, he was brought in with hopes of righting the ship until The King Returned, but that went south with a young team that was injury prone.
Perhaps the Lakers feel ‘what’s the use in hiring a coach when we all have a sense of what the outcome will be?’
The NBA summer league is about to conclude in Las Vegas, when having a coach would have been most appropriate, but not necessary.
Byron Scott is more than the best candidate for this job. He’s the only candidate!
If that is the case then why have the Lakers not hired him?