The Lakers have officially hired former Laker Byron Scott as their next coach, ending a search of almost three months by choosing a familiar name to Lakers followers. Scott comes with a built-in advantage over the last two Lakers coaches because he didn’t replace Phil Jackson in 2011 and wasn’t chosen instead of Jackson in 2012.
He also has a solid relationship with Kobe Bryant and the Buss family, not to mention familiarity with Lakers fans who remember his role on three championship teams in the 1980s.
Scott, 53, has a four-year deal for $17 million, with a team option for the fourth year. The Lakers will formally introduce him as their coach at a news conference scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday.
“I am ecstatic to once again be a Laker and to have the opportunity to work alongside [Lakers General Manager] Mitch [Kupchak] and the Buss family,” Scott said in a statement released by the Lakers. “I know firsthand what it takes to bring a championship to this city, and as someone who both grew up in L.A. and played the majority of my career here, I know how passionate and dedicated our fans are. I will give everything I have to fulfill the championship expectations that our supporters have for us, and that we have for ourselves.”
Lamar Odom is no longer a free agent. Seven months after the Los Angeles Clippers released the athlete, Odom signed a two-month contract with Spanish club team Laboral Kutxa for the rest of the 2013–14 season, with the option to play for one more year. Laboral Kutxa is ninth in the 18-team Spanish league and last in its Euroleague group.
“We’re very happy to have signed a very important player who has had a long and fruitful career in the NBA,” Josean Querejeta, president of Laboral Kutxa, says in a statement. “We’ve worked very hard over the last couple of days to make this happen. We felt we needed a boost and had to break the collective cloud that has been hanging over us over the last while so we could get back to winning.”
Odom, 34, could make his debut as early as Saturday when Laboral Kutxa plays Valladolid. The native New Yorker previously played for the Miami Heat, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks.
In August, Odom was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. In December, he pleaded no contest and was sentenced to three years’ probation and three months of alcohol abuse treatment. That same month, Khloé Kardashian filed for divorce from Odom after four years of marriage.
MIAMI (AP) — The only thing that keeps LeBron James up worrying at night is basketball, which simultaneously makes perfect sense and no sense. On one hand, he’s the game’s best player. On the other, he’s rarely impressed with himself. Even after a year like 2013 — when a spectacular wedding, a second NBA championship and a fourth MVP award were among the many highlights enjoyed by the Miami Heat star — he still is, as he puts it, striving for greatness. Or, technically, more greatness, since his enormous list of accomplishments just keeps growing.
James was announced Thursday as The Associated Press’ 2013 male athlete of the year, becoming the third basketball player to capture the award that has been annually awarded since 1931. James received 31 of 96 votes cast in a poll of news organizations, beating Peyton Manning (20) and Jimmie Johnson (7).
“I’m chasing something and it’s bigger than me as a basketball player,” James told the AP. “I believe my calling is much higher than being a basketball player. I can inspire people. Youth is huge to me. If I can get kids to look at me as a role model, as a leader, a superhero … those things mean so much, and that’s what I think I was built for. I was put here for this lovely game of basketball, but I don’t think this is the biggest role that I’m going to have.”