A theory going around the league suggests Byron Scott isn’t necessarily in his last season as Lakers coach, as Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck relays (Twitter links). The idea suggests the Lakers will keep Scott for one more year, delaying the appointment of his successor in case Knicks team president Phil Jackson exercises the opt-out that’s in his contract for the summer of 2017, moves to the Lakers, and wants to handpick a coach, according to Beck. The Bleacher Report scribe cautions that it’s just a theory. Sources close to Jackson and the Lakers tell Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com that the Zen Master is unlikely to return to the franchise that fiancee Jeanie Buss owns, with Jackson loving life in New York and perhaps thinking of coaching the Knicks on a part-time basis, as we rounded up earlier amid a slew of other coaching rumors. There’s news on the Lakers there, and more on other Pacific Division teams here:
- Earl Watson has an interim tag on his title as Suns coach, but he’s already dreaming of ways to combine the talents of guards Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Devin Booker next season when Bledsoe returns from the torn meniscus in his left knee, observes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Booker has been seeing time at point guard, but his 6’6″ length means the situation is distinct from Phoenix’s failed experiment of having Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas on the same team, Coro writes.
- Watson is a believer in the internal growth of the the team, pointing to the emergence of Booker and Alex Len, as Coro relays in the same piece. “We enhanced bench production without a trade,” Watson said. “How many teams can say they did that without paying a guy to come in? So when you go into free agency, you have six guys who can give you 30 [points] at any time. The creativity is how do you build around it? As a full program, we can throw a lot of things on the board and we don’t have to say, ‘We need to bring in a scoring player,’ that’s going to command most of our money in free agency. Now we can be really crafty.”
- Kings coach George Karl plans to increase playing time for Willie Cauley-Stein and Seth Curry down the stretch, notes Sean Cunningham of KXTV-TV in Sacramento (Twitter link). Cauley-Stein recently described Karl’s explanation for not giving him more minutes as “kind of flimsy,” while Curry has expressed mild frustration about his lack of burn.