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Byron Scott: LeBron James Doesn’t Trust Anyone But Himself

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James

As the coaching carousel continues its procession, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves among the teams searching for a new leader.

Following a nearly disastrous 2023-24 campaign, the Lakers decided to part ways with former head coach Darvin Ham after two seasons. This isn’t unusual for L.A., as they fired both Luke Walton and Frank Vogel —his immediate predecessors —after three seasons. However, the Lakers are now searching for their fourth head coach since signing LeBron James in 2018. Consequently, they’re in a more precarious position than ever before. Indeed, the wrong decision could be the end of James’ Lakers tenure.

Lead decision-makers like team general manager Rob Pelinka and president Jeanie Buss will face immense pressure as well. They can only use head coaches as scapegoats for their personnel decisions for so long. Frankly, the jig is already up.

Byron Scott: LeBron James Doesn’t Trust Anyone But Himself

This week, former Lakers head coach Byron Scott joined FS1’s Undisputed to talk about the state of the franchise. Sitting down with Undisputed co-hosts Skip Bayless and Keyshawn Johnson, Scott offered a surprising solution to L.A’s woes.

“My recommendation (for) the next Lakers coach —and out of the eight or nine names that I heard, he wasn’t on there—is make LeBron [James] the coach,” Scott jests.

“I got nothing but love and respect for LeBron… I think he’s one of the greatest players that ever played this game,” Scott continues. “But it’s obvious, to me at least, that he’s making a lot of decisions that’s going on in this organization. From a coaching standpoint to a player standpoint.

So if you’re going to allow him to make those decisions, alright, sit on the bench and make those decisions as well. Be head coach… Go back to Bill Russell days.”

It’s unclear if Scott was being entirely serious, as his comments came off as a quip about James’ notoriously enormous influence. To that point, Scott is an old-school guy, possibly critical of the player empowerment era. If so, he’s likely not a fan of James performing duties that fall outside of his job description.

Say James did become the first player-coach since former Boston Celtics big man Dave Cowens though. There’s a long list of NBA alumni that held dual player-coaching roles. Indeed, part of the lore of Hall of Famers like Bill Russell and Lenny Wilkens has been their ability to excel with a clipboard in hand.

If James really wanted to be the head coach, there’s little doubt that he could. He’s the most respected player in any locker room that he goes to. He’s an encyclopedic basketball mind. A prodigious player who’s dedicated his life to the sport, there are few people that have seen more basketball than him.

The extra responsibility would be taxing but the new challenge might be invigorating.

No to JJ Redick?

Scott also addressed the rumors that former marksman JJ Redick is among the Lakers’ head coaching candidates.

Many people are on board with the idea of Redick transitioning from the broadcast booth to the sideline. However, Scott doesn’t believe he’s the right man for L.A.’s job. He didn’t make that call based on Redick’s coaching credentials, or lack thereof. Again citing James’ influence over the team’s personnel decisions, he asserts that the four-time MVP doesn’t trust anyone but himself.

For that reason, Redick doesn’t make sense to him as a head coaching prospect.

“You obviously have to get somebody that LeBron is comfortable with from a head coaching standpoint. The last name that I heard was JJ Redick. I started laughing. So what now they got a podcast together, so y’all comfortable, y’all buddy-buddy, so now his name is on the list? As far as I’m concerned, the only person that he’s going to really trust is (himself). And since you’re making a lot of these decisions anyways, why not put him in that seat?”

To Scott’s point Redick’s growing relationship with James is likely the primary reason that he’s been linked to the Lakers.

His basketball IQ and fiery personality might fit what L.A. is looking for. Yet, with no formal coaching experience, his ability to manage games and the locker room is in question. For a team that’s in championship-or-bust mode, hiring a head coach like Redick seems too risky.


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