Great hoops entertainment last night in Lakers-Rockets, and reminders during the game and certainly afterward as to how Ron Artest's departure from Sacramento meant things would be far less interesting without him.
There was the latest dust-up with Kobe Bryant (see it here) that led to a locker room explanation that started so light and logical and ended as heavy and harrowing.
It's a must-see session that is best viewed here.
BLOG UPDATE: Anyone questioning Ron-Ron's death-by-table-leg story should read about it here.
On the Byron Scott front, I chatted with The Rise Guys about the situation yesterday (after discussing our own hoops exploits) yet have since learned a bit more. While the news conference is still expected today in which the Hornets will say that Scott will return next season, don't think for a minute that means the situation is smoothed over out there. It's not.
Hornets owner George Shinn has passed up numerous opportunities to give Scott a vote of confidence with the local media, and he's sending his son, Chad (the team's executive officer of the board) and brother-in-law Hugh Weber (the team's president) to handle the media today.
BLOG UPDATE: As expected, it was announced today that Scott will return to New Orleans for next season.
If Scott returns to New Orleans next season as it appears he will, it will be because Shinn couldn't find a way to get rid of him without taking a huge hit in the already-hurting checkbook. Thus, where the Kings could come in (even if it appears they won't).
It's not quite as complicated as some folks are making it out to be. He's owed $5.5 million, meaning the Kings and Shinn could crunch the numbers and find a way to save the Hornets' owner money while getting the Kings a well-respected coach for the next few years who most believe would be a good fit with Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie. Hypothetically, you could tell Scott to give $3 million back and agree to pay him $2.5 million in the first year of the deal, meaning he would lose $500K in the first year but gain job security in a location he has longed for for years.
Shinn, who is hurting on the money front by all accounts, could find a bargain-basement coach for $1 million and still save $2 million. Considering nobody close to the situation sees Scott staying in New Orleans beyond next season, there could certainly be incentive to make that happen. And for anyone who wants to tell me that Scott wouldn't do it because of the money loss, I'm not buying it. Head coaching jobs are precious commodities, let alone jobs that just so happen to be on your short list of destination spots (Scott has always said he wants the Kings or Lakers jobs above all else).
What's more, there is no mistaking that the soon-to-be-lame-duck Scott sees the writing on the wall in his current gig and isn't real excited about possibly becoming the fall guy in the situation (whether now or midseason). And anyone questioning whether all this chatter is newsworthy, Scott's wandering eye and undeniable desire to become the Kings next coach is the driving force behind it all.
On the other hand...
If Shinn doesn't have another team telling him that they'll pick up part of the bill, then he likely doesn't get fired because then the money math just doesn't add up. Pay Scott $5.5 million, then pay a new coach for a team that has major injury problems with core players and is likely on the decline? That's not happening. Then again, Shinn is known as impulsive, so who knows how this ends up. - Sam Amick