Byron Scott isn't waiting on Phil Jackson to decide whether he’ll return to coach the Los Angeles Lakers. Nor is Scott waiting on LeBron James(notes) to decide whether he’ll return to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In a phone conversation with Yahoo! Sports, Scott made clear he’s interested in coaching the Cavaliers, regardless of whether James returns – and regardless of whether the Lakers’ coaching job eventually becomes open. The only thing Scott is waiting on, he said, is an offer from the Cavs.
Scott has twice interviewed with the Cavaliers and has had several phone conversations with team officials, including what he described as a “great” talk with general manager Chris Grant on Sunday. Scott made clear to the Cavs that neither Jackson’s nor James’ decisions have any impact on his interest in coaching Cleveland.
The Cavs were expected to interview Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw on Monday. Scott said he has not been offered the job, and it’s his understanding the Cavs hope to make a decision by Thursday’s start of free agency.
“I’m not sitting and waiting on Phil Jackson,” Scott said. “That ain’t me. I’m not waiting on anybody.”
Scott is hopeful James will return to the Cavaliers. He hasn’t spoken directly to James, but has talked to people in his camp, who say there’s a “50-50” chance James re-signs with Cleveland.
“He’s a loyal guy,” Scott said. “He wants to win.”
Without James, the Cavaliers would instantly transform from a title contending team to a rebuilding franchise. Scott isn’t fearful of that possibility because he’s been in similar situations coaching the New Jersey Nets and New Orleans Hornets.
“I would coach there without LeBron,” Scott said. “But they got a good shot at getting him back. Without him, they would probably go from 60 wins to 30 wins. But [without James], it’s still a better job than when I first started in New Jersey, and it’s still a better job than when I first started in New Orleans.”
Scott took the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances from 2002-03 and was the league’s Coach of the Year in 2008 while with the Hornets. He had a 352-355 record in parts of 10 seasons with the Nets and Hornets.