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Byron Scott felt betrayed by Lakers front office after firing

The former head coach did not think he should’ve been fired.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After helming the Los Angeles Lakers teams with the two worst records in franchise history during his two-year tenure while benching the team’s developing players more often than most fans would like, there weren’t a ton of people who felt like Byron Scott being fired last summer was unfair.

Aside from record and rotations, Scott also failed to improve the team’s defense, and his consistent criticism of the Lakers’ most promising young players in the media lowered their value in the eyes of both local fans and (likely) people around the league.

One of the few people who doesn’t feel like his dismissal was fair is Scott himself, who spoke to Mark Medina of the Orange County Register for a lengthy feature about his Lakers tenure and feels like he should’ve had another chance to see if he could improve on literally the lowest bar that has ever been set by the storied franchise.

Scott said he “felt betrayed, lied to and deceived” by former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and former executive Jim Buss. Though he had only two guaranteed years on his four-year contract, Scott contends that Kupchak and Jim Buss previously promised him they would exercise the team option for his third year.

The Lakers obviously decided to go in a different direction, pouncing on the opportunity to hire current head coach Luke Walton after his successful interim stint in Golden State.

Was it fair for the Lakers to do so? It’s complicated. If Kupchak and Buss had promised Scott a third year before choosing not to retain him, that’s obviously poor management and communication on their part (a running theme that helped lead to their own dismissal midway through last season).

However, it’s not like the front office didn’t have good reasons to let Scott go, even aside from his horrendous record and their limited window to pursue Walton. Scott spoke to Medina about not regretting the tough approach he took with the Lakers potentially alienating the locker room, which led to these (probably unintentionally) hilarious quotes:

Scott mused “this old-school stuff people keep talking about, if old school and hard work is winning, I guess I’m old school.”

Again, Scott literally helmed the worst two seasons in Lakers history.

He also contended, “I relate with players extremely well.”

In the months following Scott’s dismissal, Lakers big man Tarik Black called Luke Walton’s hiring “a blessing from God” and D’Angelo Russell started tweeting stuff like this:

To be fair, Scott also said told Medina that his interactions with several of the Lakers young players since his departure have been positive.

Scott’s firing may have been unfair in his eyes, but it’s also not hard to see plenty of contextual reasons the Lakers did so. From their young players being benched, to the defensive-minded Scott coaching two of the four-worst defenses in franchise history and the aformentioned poor record, it was time for the Lakers to move on from Scott.

It’s also probably time for Scott to move on from the Lakers.

Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.