It has been quite some time since Mike D’Antoni resigned as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. A lot has happened since D’Antoni stepped down, but the team is still without a coach heading into the NBA Summer League this weekend. Kobe Bryant recently made an appearance in Santa Barbara for his annual basketball camp and gave his former teammate and mentor, Byron Scott, an endorsement for the job, according to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters on July 9:
Is Byron someone you'd like to see Kobe coach the Lakers next season? "Ya." – Kobe
Back in 1996, Kobe was acquired by the Lakers in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets following the 1996 NBA draft. As a result, Scott quickly became Kobe’s mentor in Los Angeles during his final year with the team while Bryant was learning the ropes as a rookie.
Kobe also talked about Scott being his mentored during their playing days together during his rookie season via Winters:
Kobe on Byron Scott: "He was my rookie mentor when I first came into the league" Says he had to get donuts for him and run errands for him.
Not until Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James make their final decisions in free agency will the Lakers make their choice for their coaching vacancy. Many of the candidates that the Lakers have interviewed over the past few weeks have already landed new jobs in the league with Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins and Kurt Rambis all heading elsewhere. Hollins was thought to be the team’s choice for a new head coach had Scott not been the answer they were looking for, but the former Memphis Grizzlies leader on the sidelines was recently hired by the Brooklyn Nets to replace Jason Kidd.
As of right now, Scott appears to be the clear favorite with all indications pointing to the Lakers signing the three-time NBA champion. Scott has a great relationship with Kobe and is respected by the Lakers brass with the late Dr. Jerry Buss being fond of his former player.
Although Scott may ultimately be the team’s next head coach, nothing is set in stone with Carmelo potentially wanting another coach in place in order to sign with Los Angeles. George Karl could become an option if Anthony is eventually in the fold for the Lakers.
In the meantime, Mitch Kupchak and company can only sit and wait for Carmelo to make his decision. Once Carmelo chooses his free-agent destination, the dominos will start to fall with the Lakers more than likely moving quick to hire a new head coach and fill out the roster with other free agents.