Byron Scott is reportedly close to finalizing a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers that would make him the franchise’s next head coach, but negotiations have unfolded at a snail’s pace. Is Scott still feeling out the Lakers, or are the Lakers still feeling out Scott?
“I think it’s the latter, at this point,” Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix said on The Morning Show. “The Lakers, from what I heard last week when I was at summer league, were still not 100 percent sold on hiring Byron Scott (and) were still looking at other candidates for the job, most notably George Karl. But it does seem like they’re just settling for him, that he’s not necessarily the guy that they’re sold on to be the leader for the future.”
Interestingly enough, Scott has been fairly forthright about an impending deal with Los Angeles, while the Lakers seem hesitant to commit.
“It’s sort of weird now with him saying ‘We’ve got a deal’ and them saying it’s not quite done yet,” Mannix said. “Maybe it’s just semantics, but I can’t remember a time that I’ve seen something like this – where the coach is out here saying we’ve got an agreement, and the team is telling everybody to kind of pump the brakes a little bit. It’s a weird dynamic and a weird relationship, and I guess we’ll have to see once he actually does sign if we can get some insight into the process of what exactly they’ve been waiting for (all this time).”
Is it possible that the Lakers are waiting for Doc Rivers to decide whether he will leave the Clippers as the Donald Sterling saga continues to unfold?
“I have a hard time really believing that,” Mannix said. “I know that rumor’s been kind of floating out there, but Doc Rivers, even with Donald Sterling as an owner, is in a very advantageous position with the Clippers. They’re basically a championship-ready team right now that he has effectively total control of. If he went over to the Lakers, he might be a well-paid head coach, but that’s all he would be. He’s not getting personnel control from Jim Buss or from Mitch Kupchak. So I understand Doc’s feelings on Donald Sterling. Those feelings are shared by a lot of people, (including the players). But I still have a hard time believing that Doc would walk way – nor do I really believe that the Clippers would let him out of his contract to go coach the Lakers.”
In other news – sort of – there’s Kevin Love. What’s going on in Minnesota?
“Well, nothing at the moment,” Mannix said. “There’s nothing really happening any time soon, either. Now, Kevin and Minnesota were both on the same page with Kevin bowing out of USA basketball. Minnesota does not want Kevin to get injured while they’re trying to trade him, and certainly Kevin doesn’t want to get injured as he’s trying to get moved.
“Ultimately, I do think this deal with Cleveland gets done,” Mannix continued. “There’s a lot of smoke screens being thrown out there. I don’t think Chicago and Minnesota are that far along in any type of negotiation, nor do I think Minnesota would actually accept an offer that doesn’t include a franchise player like Andrew Wiggins in it. It could just be a matter of semantics with Cleveland. They could just be discussing compensation in terms of protection on some of those draft picks, an extra player here or there to make the money work.”
“But ultimately, I think this just gets done. They’re too far down the line. There’s too talented a franchise player in Andrew Wiggins to (get) back to make any deal get scuttled.”