Byron Scott has high praise for Lakers lottery pick Julius Randle

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)

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:

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New Lakers head coach Byron Scott thinks current roster can be competitive

Byron Scott said he agreed to coach the Lakers next season. AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

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.

But the roster additions they were able to make, which include Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis, were enough to have new head coach Byron Scott excited. Continue reading

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Magic Johnson on the ruling in Donald Sterling case: (Smiles)

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.”

From Jill Painter, Los Angeles News Group

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Five things to watch for in Byron Scott’s coaching tenure with Lakers

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)

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.”
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Lakers officially sign Wesley Johnson

The Lakers agreed to a one-year, $1 million deal with Wesley Johnson Rick Bowmer / The Associated Press

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.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Steve Nash confirms this will be his last NBA season

Steve Nash talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

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.

“I think this is my last season,” said the 40-year-old Nash in a video posted by Sport TV. But I still love to play, practice and work on my game. I’m going to spend hopefully many many years living this life without basketball. It’ll be nice to play one more year.”
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Watch best of Kobe Bryant going one-on-one

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.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Byron Scott says he agrees to terms to be Los Angeles Lakers’ next coach

Byron Scott said he agreed to coach the Lakers next season. AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Byron Scott said he agreed to coach the Lakers next season. AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

The Lakers’ coaching search might have taken an exhausting three months that often took a backseat to the team’s focus on the NBA draft and free agency. But only two days after being offered the job, Byron Scott agreed Saturday night to become the Lakers’ next head coach, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

The Lakers maintained Saturday night that they remained in negotiations with Scott and that the process could still take a few more days before finalizing an agreement. But Scott confirmed to CBS-2/KCAL-9 sports director Jim Hill that he will coach the Lakers next season.

“It feels fantastic,” Scott told Hill. “This is a dream come true. I always wanted to coach the Lakers, especially when I got to coaching. It’s so unreal. I have to thank Mitch (Kupchak), Jeanie (Buss) and Jim Buss to give me this opportunity.”
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Byron Scott, Lakers nearing deal, but is it complete?

Byron Scott has been offered the Lakers head coaching position. As a player, Scott won three NBA titles with the Lakers in the 1980s. chris chambers - getty images

Byron Scott has been offered the Lakers head coaching position. As a player, Scott won three NBA titles with the Lakers in the 1980s. chris chambers – getty images

The Lakers and Byron Scott made progress on Saturday in negotiating a deal that would ensure him as the next head coach. But have they agreed to a deal?

It depends on who you ask. Scott is under the impression that he agreed to a deal with the Lakers on Saturday night to become their next head coach, according to a league source close to him. But the Lakers maintain they are still negotiating and anticipate that reaching a deal could “take a couple of more days,” according to a Lakers official.

It is not immediately clear why there is a discrepancy. But considering the fluid nature of negotiations, clarity should emerge shortly. ESPN Los Angeles first reported that Scott agreed to a four-year, $17 million deal with a team option for the fourth year.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers officially sign Xavier Henry

In this file photo, the Los Angeles Lakers' Xavier Henry celebrates a 3-pointer by Wesley Johnson in the NBA season opener between the Lakers and Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

In this file photo, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Xavier Henry celebrates a 3-pointer by Wesley Johnson in the NBA season opener between the Lakers and Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

The Lakers officially signed Xavier Henry on Friday to a one-year deal worth around $1 million. Henry’s return adds needed depth at the small forward spot after averaging 10 points per game last season with bursts of athleticism and aggressiveness.

Henry is currently recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee and left wrist, injuries that kept him out for a combined 39 games. Henry said last month that he expects to heal by late July.

“Xavier earned a spot on our team last season after being a training camp invitee, and we hope he continues the dedication to improving he has displayed for us thus far,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “When healthy, Xavier provided our team with an offensive punch, and we expect he’ll strive to add to his skillset and become a well-rounded player.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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