The Los Angeles Lakers are the second-worst team in the NBA, and part-owner Jeannie Buss isn’t thrilled. The Lakers have struggled mightily for the past few years and, amid plummeting TV ratings and the potential disaster of losing a first-round pick without properly developing last year’s second-overall selection, there’s a good chance head coach Byron Scott won’t be back to turn things around next season.
Despite having another year on his contract, Scott has failed to give L.A. any reason to keep him on board, and. Making matters worse, in a recent interview with USA Today’s NBA A to Z podcast, Buss revealed that she and Scott don’t speak (via USA Today):
“I haven’t had a conversation with Byron Scott (about the challenges of the Bryant dynamic),” Jeanie said. “I think I’ve talked to him maybe three times since he was hired. And I know he must be extremely busy with such a young group of players (but) I don’t really know if that’s how he feels about it. He hasn’t expressed that to me but yet we really haven’t had too many conversations where that would ever come up. “Now certainly when Phil was here (as Lakers coach), we were always talking because we were in relationship. Coaches before that like Pat Riley, and even Del Harris (who) I had a friendship with, he would stop by my office. I don’t know if that’s just the lay of the landscape. Being a head coach in the NBA is a very time-consuming job and so that might be something would be difficult for him to find the time, nor do I talk Xs and Os. Maybe there really wouldn’t be anything I could offer him in terms of support (but) I am supportive of him and that if he did need something, I would make sure that our staff would provide it.”
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Is this a serious problem by itself? Probably not. Owners — particularly those solely focused on the business side of the operation — don’t need to have a direct line of communication with their head coach in order for the team to have success. Steady correspondence can only help, but it’s far from a stand-alone sign that Scott won’t be back with the team next season.
With so much pressure to wisely utilize cap space this summer — and nail their top-three pick, should they keep it — the Lakers have more important things to worry about than what transpires over these next 26 games. And if this summer goes as poorly as last year, Scott probably won’t be the only member of that organization looking for a new job.