Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott has become as popular of a scapegoat as anyone for the team's struggles over the last two seasons. The veteran head coach hasn't been given the most talented rosters to work with, and injuries have taken their toll, but it would be hard to make an argument that Scott has made the situation any better as the Lakers have posted the two worst records in the history of their franchise under his stewardship.
For most of the year, most fans and analysts have expected the Lakers to relieve Scott of his duties after the season is over, but the latest reporting suggests that may not be the case. Scott reportedly has a "major chance" to keep his job going into the 2016-17 NBA season, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports. Berger reports that Lakers president Jeanie Buss is "pushing for Scott behind the scenes" as the season nears a close, at least in part due to her desire to facilitate her fiancee Phil Jackson's return to the franchise (from Berger):
Believe it or not, Byron Scott has what one source described as a "major chance" to stay with the Lakers; Jeanie Buss is said to be pushing for Scott behind the scenes. If so, it could clear the way for a top-to-bottom reset for the franchise in 2017, and the possible return of Jackson to run basketball operations with Luke Walton as the coach. There are a lot of dots to be connected to get from here to there, though -- not to mention a lot more games for the Lakers to lose.
Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times oco-signed Berger's reporting on Twitter on Wednesday, and on Tuesday reported that he was also hearing Scott had a chance to keep his job:
I'm not 100% sold Lakers fire Byron - I "think" they change coaches but that's not the full vibe out of LA so far https://t.co/ILnf7CsZiA— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) April 12, 2016
If I had to guess, they get a new coach, but I don't know that they will yet - still vague when I've asked around— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) April 12, 2016
These reports of conflicting feelings within the franchise reflect the earlier reports that the Lakers were "torn" on whether or not to give Scott a chance going into next season.
It still seems unlikely Scott will be retained given that he has been unable to make good on his promises to improve a Lakers defense that has ranked as the worst and third worst in defensive efficiency in the history of the franchise during Scott's two years with the team, according to Basketball Reference. Combined with his inability to distinguish himself as a manager of rotations or improve the team's offense, there is likely enough working against Scott for the Lakers to relieve him of his head coaching duties, even if it is apparently not a sure thing.
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