The Lakers have started negotiating with Byron Scott to become their next head coach, according to a person familiar with the situation.
There has not been a formal contract offer, but the Lakers consider Scott to be their preferred candidate and are hoping to come to an agreement soon.
“It could be a few hours or it could happen next week,” said the person, who asked not to be identified.
Scott was believed to be vacationing in the Bahamas, meaning a news conference probably wouldn’t be held until after the weekend if the sides struck a deal.
Scott has coached three teams, most recently Cleveland in 2012-13, where he was fired and replaced by former Lakers coach Mike Brown.
Scott, 53, has a tight relationship with Kobe Bryant and recognition from Lakers fans who remember his smooth stroke on the “Showtime” teams of the 1980s.
Bryant gave Scott a thumbs-up for the job earlier this month, calling his former teammate a “rookie mentor” who made Bryant fetch donuts and run other errands as a young player.
“We’ve had a tremendously close relationship throughout the years,” Bryant said. “So obviously I know him extremely well, he knows me extremely well and I’ve always been a fan of his.”
The Lakers have been without a coach since Mike D’Antoni resigned April 30, accepting a payout of about half the $4 million he was owed next season.
They have been running out of options as their search has played out. They sat down with five candidates, but three of them took other jobs – Lionel Hollins became the head coach for Brooklyn, Kurt Rambis an assistant with New York and Alvin Gentry an assistant with Golden State.
Mike Dunleavy was the other candidate the Lakers interviewed in person.
The most success Scott encountered as a coach came in his first stop, New Jersey, where he led the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003.
He was fired 42 games into the 2003-04 season as his relationship with Nets guard Jason Kidd soured but landed quickly with New Orleans for the following season and stayed there until being let go nine games into the 2009-10 season. He was the NBA’s coach of the year in 2008.
Scott then coached three years with the Cavaliers without much success, though he took the job in July 2010, a few days before knowing LeBron James would bolt for Miami.
As a player, Scott won three championships with the Lakers while playing for them from 1983 until 1993. He came back for one more season, 1996-97, finishing his 14-year career after that point.
More recently, Scott was an analyst last season for the Lakers’ broadcast partner, TWC SportsNet.