The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Byron Scott to a multi-year contract as head coach, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.
“After an extensive and thorough search, we’re proud to welcome Byron back to the Lakers family as our next head coach,” said Kupchak. “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.”
“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 Inglewood, CA native 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). The ’07-’08 campaign was a 17-win improvement from the previous season in New Orleans, and resulted in an appearance in the Western Conference Semifinals. Scott also saw marked success in his second season with the Hornets during the 2005-06 season, leading the team to a 20-win improvement (the NBA’s best that year) from his first season, despite Hurricane Katrina displacing the team from New Orleans and playing in four different home arenas throughout the season. Scott had a similar impact in his first head coaching stop, improving the Nets by 26 wins between his first and second seasons, marking the sixth-largest improvement in NBA history.
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.
The 53-year-old Scott enjoyed a 14-year NBA career, 11 of which were spent in purple-and-gold (1983-93 and the 1996-97 season) with stints in Indiana (1993-95) and Vancouver (1995-96) in between. He was a starter on three Lakers championship teams (1985, 1987 and 1988) and made the postseason in all but one of his NBA campaigns, totaling 183 games of playoff experience. One of the marquee shooting guards of his time, starring on the Showtime Lakers, Scott concluded his 1,073-game NBA career with averages of 14.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, highlighted by his 1987-88 season where he achieved career-high per game averages of 21.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists.
The Morningside High School alumnus originally became a Laker on October 16, 1983 when the San Diego Clippers (who had drafted him with the 4th overall pick of the 1983 NBA Draft four months earlier) traded him along with Swen Nater to L.A. in exchange for Eddie Jordan, Norm Nixon and a second round pick. The Arizona State product saw his NBA playing career come full-circle after signing as a free agent prior to the 1996-97 season (his last in the league) when the 35-year-old shooting guard mentored an 18-year-old rookie Kobe Bryant.