Once the 2015-16 NBA season officially comes to an end for the Los Angeles Lakers, the storied franchise will have a difficult decision to make concerning the fate of head coach Byron Scott.
With the Lakers likely finishing this season with the worst record in franchise history, Scott’s future remains uncertain. The team could elect to part ways with Scott if they want to go in a different direction or believe there’s a better option available.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers brass remains undecided on whether they’ll retain Scott or look for his successor in the offseason:
In Los Angeles, the Lakers haven’t yet decided whether to bring Byron Scott back next season. Sources indicate they intend to meet with Scott once the season ends, before deciding whether to retain him. While general manager Mitch Kupchak may have been noticeably unenthusiastic when asked to assess Scott’s performance last month, sources indicate that was simply Kupchak’s way of avoiding the question and not adding fuel to the speculation about Scott’s future. It was clumsy, but it wasn’t intended to be the damning indictment some read it as.
Scott has two more years left on his deal with the Lakers after this season with a team option for the 2017-18 campaign. If Kupchak and company don’t feel like they’d improve the team by parting ways with Scott, they may keep him on for another year and reassess at the end of next season.
One way to tilt scales in the decision-making process for the Lakers this summer is if the team’s front office feels they’ll have a better chance to land superstar Kevin Durant in NBA free agency with a different head coach in place. Former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks remains unemployed after being fired by the team last summer and could be a target for the Lakers if it helps their pursuit of Durant.
Other notable options for the Lakers are Tom Thibodeau, Luke Walton, Mark Jackson, Derek Fisher, Brian Shaw, and Jeff Van Gundy. Outside of Walton, who is an assistant coach under Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors, all other coaches mentioned are currently either looking for jobs or are working as NBA analysts.