NBA / Jul 1, 2010 / 12:28 pm

Byron Scott to Coach the Cavs, with or without LeBron

photo. New Orleans Times-Picayune

When Mike Brown was fired over a little over a month ago, I listed Tom Thibodeau, Larry Brown and Avery Johnson as the three coaches the Cavaliers should pursue for their head coaching vacancy. Now, Thibodeau is with the Bulls, Johnson is with the Nets, and Larry Brown — still under contract with the Bobcats — has not pushed to be released in order to pursue other opportunities like many thought he would.

Since the vacancy, the Cleveland position has become a give-and-take. Coaches have wanted at least some indication that LeBron will be returning to Cleveland next year, but because it’s impossible for the team to ensure that, coaches such as Tom Izzo have been turning down large sums of money rather than take the risk. Cleveland, on the other hand, has been caught between trying to secure the best coach for the franchise with or without the guarantee of LeBron’s return and securing a coach that LeBron would want to play for.

LeBron is reportedly interested in a coach that has played in the NBA before (even though Izzo would have been a draw and Thibodeau still is in Chicago), so it makes sense that the Cavaliers’ coaching search ultimately came down to Byron Scott and Brian Shaw.

Interestingly, both Scott and Shaw, while interested in the Cavaliers job, were angling for the Lakers head coaching gig with Phil Jackson considering retirement. Shaw remains in this position but with reports that Jackson is leaning towards returning, the decision to take over as the Cavs’ head coach only became easier for Scott.

As Scott led the New Jersey Nets to two Finals appearances in ’02 and ’03 and later won Coach of the Year with the ’07-08 Hornets, his pedigree is unquestionable. Jason Kidd has openly vouched for Scott, and he shares a close relationship with Chris Paul. This could only attract LeBron.

And if LeBron doesn’t return? Scott will undoubtedly be content with the amount of money owner Dan Gilbert is throwing his way; it will most likely be of equal or slightly lesser value than the five-year, $30 million that Izzo was offered. If the Cavaliers come up short in retaining LeBron, Scott cannot be at fault for the record of the mediocre team that remains.

Of course, we are all awaiting the King’s decision, but no matter what he decides, the Cavaliers have secured the best viable head coaching prospect left on the market, and Scott has entered into a low-risk/high-reward agreement to return as an NBA head coach.

What do you think? Is Byron Scott the right hire?

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  • The Other Aj

    If LBJ decides to leave this will be like Tim Floyd taking over the bulls post Jordan/Pippen…

    Who plays the 3 on the cavs w/o #23? Jamario Moon?


  • karizmatic

    I have been reading Shaw’s moves as an indication of whether or not Phil Jackson was returning. I figured if Shaw remained in the hunt for the Cavs job it would indicate that maybe the front office wanted to go in a different direction, I figured if he stayed which it seems he’s doing it’s because he knows Phil is coming back and he can wait it out another year and replace Phil later.

    All that has nothing to do with Byron Scott though, who I have always thought is the best coach out there without a job. I thought he was best coach period and if I was a gm he would have been my first pick no matter what team I was a part of, so that being said I think he’s the perfect fit for the Cavs it’s a great move and I think it shows that the Cavs intend to remain competitive with or without LBJ.

  • frmkt

    great for cleve and scott. if lbj bolts-and i think he will-scott will show the league just how good he really is by winning with what’s left on the roster. i like scott and he’ll remain in the league for a very long time.

  • http://www.twitter.com/lakersnation @LakersNation

    He’s a coach for rebuilding teams . . . 2 years TOPS and then he’s out! Watch.