CLEVELAND — With LeBron or without him, Byron Scott has decided to get back on an NBA sideline.
Scott accepted Cleveland's
coaching job just as LeBron James officially became a free agent and no
longer property of the Cavaliers, who are hoping that landing the best
coach available will convince the two-time MVP to stay home and try to
win a title.
Scott's agent, Brian McInerney,
said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that he and the Cavs are
working through some final details, but doesn't expect any problems and
that Scott has agreed to become Cleveland's next coach. The team is
expected to announce Scott's hiring later Thursday, just as James
listens to offers from the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks.
Scott, who previously coached in
New Jersey and New Orleans, may not know for some time if he'll have
James on his roster. But after working as a TV analyst, the 49-year-old
has decided it's time to get back to doing what he loves most.
The Cavs have been looking for a
coach since Mike Brown was fired May 24, ending a five-year run with
the club. Brown guided James and his teammates through the most
successful run in franchise history, but fell short of winning a
Scott's hiring ends a twisting drama to the Cavs' coaching search.
Los Angeles Lakers assistant
Brian Shaw appeared to be the favorite to become Cleveland's coach
after an impressive two-day meeting with the club earlier this week. As
of Tuesday, Shaw was reported to be assembling a staff to bring to
But despite the Cavaliers
seemingly moving toward a deal with Shaw — to the point where McInerney
sent out a congratulatory e-mail to Shaw through several news outlets —
general manager Chris Grant reopened talks with Scott on Wednesday.
Scott's dream has been to coach
the Lakers, but with Phil Jackson possibly returning to the champions
he has decided to take on the Cavs, who could be better positioned to
re-sign James with Scott on the sideline.
James has said he would like to
play for a former NBA player, and Scott's resume includes 14 pro
seasons — 11 with the Lakers — and three titles. He was a teammate of
Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on L.A.'s famed "Showtime" teams
under coach Pat Riley and later with Kobe Bryant. He knows what it
takes to win it all.
As a coach, Scott led some
lesser-talented Nets teams to the finals and had a solid relationship
with star Jason Kidd that unraveled toward the end of the point guard's
time in New Jersey. In New Orleans, Scott took the Hornets on a
surprising run to the Western Conference finals and was close with
guard Chris Paul, who is James' best friend in the league.
The Cavs had an unsuccessful
pursuit of Michigan State's Tom Izzo, who rejected a reported $30
million to stay with the Spartans. Cleveland had several discussions
with Scott, who flew himself to Michigan and met with owner Dan Gilbert
on Father's Day.
Shaw emerged as a leading
candidate but then something pushed the Cavs back to Scott, landing him
just in time to make an impression on James.