Magic Johnson (pictured speaking at Cal State Long Beach) said he is thrilled with the hiring of Byron Scott as the Lakers new head coach. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze
When Byron Scott joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 1983 he was the fourth overall pick in that year’s draft out of Arizona State. After three years with the Sun Devils, he left as the school’s all-time leading scorer and a second-team All-American selection.
That meant nothing to his teammates.
“When we brought him in, we didn’t speak to him,” former teammate and Laker legend Magic Johnson said Tuesday at Scott’s press conference introducing him as the team’s new head coach. “He was a just a college kid. So we wouldn’t speak to him, and we wouldn’t sit with him. He would have to go sit by himself at lunch and dinner. We smacked him and elbowed him because we wanted to understand what we were getting.”
Reports by ESPN and confirmed by the L.A. Daily News have stated that the Los Angeles Lakers brought in free agent forward Michael Beasley for a workout Wednesday at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, looks to pass around Indiana Pacers forward Paul George in an NBA basketball game in March 2013. Bryant played only six games last season. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
In 1996, an 18-year-old Kobe Bryant just starting his NBA career, shared a sideline with Byron Scott, who was ending his own. Faded photos almost two decades old show the pair sitting next to each other on the sideline, dressed in bright yellow warm up suits: the rookie and the veteran.
This season, they will be the aging superstar and the new coach.
Kentucky forward Julius Randle, right, poses for a photo with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected seventh overall by the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2014 NBA draft, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
With Byron Scott now the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, the former member of the Showtime Lakers gets the chance to coach one of the best players in NBA history in Kobe Bryant.
But he also gets to coach on the most talented young prospects in the league in lottery pick and power forward Julius Randle. At Scott’s introductory press conference on Tuesday, Scott was asked his thoughts on the promising Randle and gave a flattering review:
Byron Scott said he agreed to coach the Lakers next season. AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t exactly hit the home runs they were hoping for in free agency after going after superstars LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony and ultimately losing out to Cleveland and New York.
At today’s press conference introducing Byron Scott as head coach of the Lakers, Magic Johnson was asked about his response to the ruling in the Donald Sterling case – allowing the sale to Steve Ballmer to proceed. Here’s what he said:
“What’s my reaction to the Sterling ruling? What do you think my reaction to the Sterling thing is? (Smiles) Do you see this? I don’t think you see this. (Laughs) I don’t have anything bad to say about him right now. I’ve said already that I’m praying for the man. But it’s a great day for Clipper fans, for this city. Ballmer is going to be an exciting owner, and a good owner for the Clippers. You talk about a guy who wants to win, and who loves basketball. He’s going to do everything he can to put them in a championship position because he wants to win so bad. You have to give Shelly a lot of credit. This was tough for her. But I respect what he did. I have no ill-feelings toward Donald. It was too bad what happened. But when you’ve been discriminated against this long, this is what happened. I hoped that this thing would end soon because we need to get back to our lives and you guys need to start cheering for the Dodgers as we approach the playoffs.”
Former Lakers standout Byron Scott and the team came to an agreement for him to become the team’s next head coach on Saturday. (chris Chambers / Getty Images)
It took three months before clarity ever emerged on who would coach the Lakers. They narrowed in on a familiar face in Byron Scott, whose four-year, $17 million deal with a team option on his last season was officially signed on Monday.
“After an extensive and thorough search, we’re proud to welcome Byron back to the Lakers family as our next head coach,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “Byron has proven himself at the highest levels of the game as both a player and a coach in his almost 30 years of NBA experience. His leadership skills and track record for success make him the ideal person to lead this franchise forward.”
That may bring closure to a frenetic offseason in which the Lakers drafted Julius Randle, struck out on LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, lost Pau Gasol and added a flurry of players to fill a once vacant roster. But what’s next in the Lakers trying to restore their prominence after finishing last season with the word record in L.A. franchise history? Below are five things to watch for pertaining to Scott’s role in turning this proud organization around.
1. Scott already has plenty of equity.
Lakers fans already like Scott for reasons going beyond not being named Mike Brown or Mike D’Antoni. Scott has extensive ties with the Lakers stemmed from winning three NBA championships during the Showtime Era and playing 10 of his 14 NBA seasons here. That puts Scott at an immediate advantage in winning over the public and having organizational even amid a rebuilding period.
“I am ecstatic to once again be a Laker and to have the opportunity to work alongside Mitch and the Buss family,” Scott said in a statement. “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.” Continue reading “Five things to watch for in Byron Scott’s coaching tenure with Lakers” »
The Lakers agreed to a one-year, $1 million deal with Wesley Johnson Rick Bowmer / The Associated Press
The Lakers officially signed Wesley Johnson to a one-year deal worth $1 million.
Johnson averaged 9.1 points per game on 42.6 percent shooting last season, production that featured both impressive performances and disappearing acts. But the Lakers were willing to resign Johnson for reasons including his age (27), athleticism and being a good teammate.
“I’m happy to welcome Wesley back to our team and am excited to see him develop further after taking such great strides last season,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “Wesley possesses elite athleticism, and has the potential to develop into an excellent defender.”
As he has labored tirelessly through back pain for the last two years, Steve Nash all but confirmed the obvious when looking ahead on what the last year of his $9.7 million with the Lakers will mean for his NBA future.
The venues, the opponents and the circumstances all change. But Kobe Bryant’s approach toward playing one-on-one doesn’t.
Bryant could play at his basketball camp. Or in China. or an actual NBA game. As the video edited by Max Funke shows above, Bryant will keep the same approach. He will still look either to drive to the basket or post up. Bryant will talk trash, whether chastising a camper for wearing And-1 shorts over Nike gear or bragging to an NBA contemporary that he cannot be stopped. And of course, Bryant will ensure that he wins every time.