Byron Scott says Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss betrayed and lied to him
It has been just over a year since the Los Angeles Lakers made the decision to part ways with Byron Scott after two full seasons as the head coach where he compiled a discouraging 38-126 record including the worst regular season mark in franchise history.
With more than enough time to truly assess his thoughts, Scott fired back at his former employer by telling Mark Medina of the LA Daily News that then-General Manager Mitch Kupchak and former team president Jim Buss both lied to him about picking up the team option for the third year of his four-year contract.
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. Scott also believes the Lakers used him to manage Bryant during his final seasons and farewell tour before making the coach a scapegoat for the franchise’s struggles.
There is is clearly a lot of pent-up emotions on Scott’s ends as he is of the strong belief that he did not receive a fair shake at leading the franchise to success but rather set up to fail. There could be some credence to the notion that he was kept in the second year to help manage Kobe Bryant through his final year in the league.
That said, what it ultimately came down to is that the Lakers’ youth did not show the type of development that was hoped to see as the season progressed along. The front office was well aware that there would be struggles, but there was also no sign of promising improvement as the year wore on.
Keep in mind, Scott didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with D’Angelo Russell throughout his rookie year while there wasn’t much of the acceptance toward the modern style of the NBA that features a heavy reliance on three-point shooting and spreading the floor in that regard. Granted, Russell showed a lack of maturity at times during his first season, it didn’t help Scott’s case by the way it was handled at times calling him out through the media.
Scott may have a fair argument that he didn’t get a fair shot at succeeding in Los Angeles, but it became quite obvious as time wore on that he wasn’t the organization’s long-term answer.