Following a lengthy interview process, Byron Scott has finally landed the head coaching job for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Scott interviewed on three separate occasions, initially in May, just days after Mike D’Antoni resigned following a dismal 27-55 campaign last season.
As a team with nearly $30 million in cap space to improve the roster this summer, the Lakers waited to name a coach in an attempt to convince LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony or another marquee free agent to join the team and have an input on the decision.
For the first time in years, the franchise is truly facing a rebuild and signing Scott to a four-year $17 million deal was the most critical part of the process.
Not only did Scott spend 11 of his 14 seasons as a player in Los Angeles, he spent his last year on the team with Kobe Bryant.
Unlike the last two hires made by the Lakers, Scott had the endorsement of the five-time champion shooting guard.
Along with his connections to the organization, Scott has a lengthy resume coaching in the league, having spent 13 seasons with the Hornets, Nets and Cavaliers, compiling a record of 416-521.
During his time in New Jersey he led the team to consecutive trips to the Finals and was named Coach of the Year in New Orleans following the 2007-08 season.
Scott was dismissed in Cleveland after he failed to lead the team into the post season following the departure of James.
When the Lakers selected former Kentucky forward Julius Randle with the seventh pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, it represented just the third lottery selection the team has made since 1994.
After numerous free agents declined to sign with the team, Los Angeles instead added several role players to the team, resigning Nick Young, Jordan Hill, trading for Jeremy Lin and landing Ed Davis in free agency.
Boozer entered free agency, with the provision of every other team in the league with cap space having the ability to submit a bid to have him on the roster.
Los Angeles submitted the winning offer, signing him to a $3.2 million deal, while he still is being paid the $16.8 million owed to him by Chicago.
Boozer is in the final year of his contract, so the team can try to land a superstar in free agency next summer.
Aside from the player movement, the team is trying to establish some consistency at the coaching position.
Since Phil Jackson left the team three years ago, Mike Brown, Bernie Bickerstaff and D’Antoni have all served as coach, but the Lakers have won just a single playoff series and posted a 113-117 record in the regular season.
Unlike Scott, Brown never received the endorsement from Byrant, a future first ballot Hall-of-Famer.
In Los Angeles, Scott has to either revive the career of Lin or find a way to incorporate Steve Nash more prominently into the lineup.
The 40-year-old Nash was acquired in a trade prior to the start of last season, but numerous injuries limited him to just 15 appearances, while Bryant registered just six games recovering from a torn Achilles tendon and a subsequent knee injury.
The back court duo for the Lakers accounts for $33.2 million of the teams salary next season.
The biggest challenge facing Scott next season is establishing a defensive identity.
Los Angeles surrendered 109.2 points per game, only Philadelphia allowed its opponents to score more points each night.
Along with the lofty point total, the Lakers allowed other teams to shoot 46.8 percent from the field, tied with Milwaukee for the fifth highest average in the league.
Los Angeles is not expecting a long rebuilding process and if Scott doesn’t immediately succeed, the franchise has no problem looking for a replacement.