No Improvement = No More Scott For Cavs

To be fair to Byron Scott, this was not the job he signed up for. When Scott agreed to become the 18th head coach in Cleveland Cavaliers history on July 1, 2010, a fellow by the name of LeBron James still was considered to be the cornerstone of the franchise’s present and future. Yes, James technically was a free agent but the very act of hiring Scott was seen by some as a move that would enhance the Cavaliers’ chances of keeping him.

A week later, James announced his decision. So long, Cuyahoga. Hello, South Beach.

And yet, Scott’s job was the one he stayed on for, through three difficult seasons that yielded some common problems and some unique challenges.

The talent cupboard was pretty bare once all those supporting pieces around James left or were rightly cleared out. What talent remained mostly was young, embodied by second-year point guard Kyrie Irving, rookies Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller and youngters such as Tristan Thompson, Alonzo Gee and eventually Marreese Speights. And then, this season, injuries to defensive presence Anderson Varejao, to Irving and to others got layered onto the issues already in place.

The result: A 24-58 record that was worse than 2011-12’s 21-45 (in the post-lockout 66-game schedule).

And swiftly, Scott’s termination, not quite 34 months into a 48-month contract but after several weeks of speculation, too. His record: 64-166, heavily tilting the near-.500 mark he brought after most of 10 seasons with New Jersey and New Orleans (he’s 416-521 now).

The Cavaliers, in their news release, said all the expected things: the tremendous respect management has for him professionally, the admiration personally, yada yada yada. That’s boilerplate at this time of year. What got Scott was what gets so many others in his profession: the lack of Cleveland’s tangible improvement in his third season and an eagerness/impatience level from owner Dan Gilbert that was out of sync with the length of his deal, if not expectations.

With Irving running the attack, at least for the 59 games in which he appeared, the Cavs were a third-tier team offensively but trending upward. Defensively, though – and Varejao’s absence can’t be overstated here – they were headed in the wrong direction (27th in the league with a rating of 109.4).

Comments from players once news of Scott’s firing was made official were fairly typical. Gee, I wish I could have done more. And no, it didn’t seem like he lost the locker room.

More interesting, though, was the list of possible replacements that the Cleveland Plain Dealer posted within minutes.

Among the names offered in the combo wish list/guessing game: Phil Jackson, Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, John Calipari, Larry Brown, Rick Pitino, Nate McMillan, Mo Cheeks, Flip Saunders, Jerry Sloan and one or both of the Van Gundy Bros. Current NBA assistants Brian Shaw, Mike Malone and Mike Budenholzer also were mentioned, as were former Cavs bench boss Mike Brown and Keith Dambrot – James’ high school coach now at Akron.

There was a sense, as the news spread, that Cleveland GM Chris Grant ought to act fast, lest some other team with a vacancy snatch the Cavs’ preferred candidate. But that’s the good thing about the coaching carousel – for every one thrown off, another one comes on. And – cue the calliope music! – round and round it goes.

What, you thought the playoffs and the draft were going to provide all the NBA entertainment in the next couple of months?


  1. Stern H8r says:

    He is on the list of the top 10 worst NBA coaches in history. He was a hardworking 3pt shooter with very little basketball sense. He played with Magic, Kareem, and WOrthy and they covered his average ability. As a coach he is terrible. He lucked into Jason Kidd and a talented NJ team…then he lucked into CP3. The guys is a horrible practice coach, a horrible player development coach, a horrible player relationship coach and a horrible game-time coach. I hope the Lakers hire him.

  2. Faruque says:

    Well as others said NBA is a business. Scott was not a great coach but not bad either. If Cleveland can get a better coach then by all means get it but I personally think this was done prematurely. I think the next year Cleveland is going to do better no matter who the coach is. They made good improvements, its just this year there were lot of injuries. But I hope Cleveland has a good plan because at the end of the day Scott was a good coach and if you can’t get a better coach there was no point of going through the coaching change.

  3. Skillex says:

    Theres is no improvement in cavs since lebron left

  4. Jack says:

    i just think that the problem might be the back office, not the coach,…even DG maybe?? Grant who??..i havent heard of him being good GM,..Danny Ferry maybe but not him,..well i do believe time will come for the org. to jell and to be succesful once again, but i do hope and pray the owner will find a perfect combination as other owners are doing,..give Byron some credit, he did his job, but the GM not!!

  5. MackDaddy says:

    Well, with what Scott had to work with I reckon he did well. Look at other teams with losing records worse than the Cavs but with more talent and less injuries. Another poor decision by Gilbert. Impatient and looking for a quick fix, instead of letting the coach improve things by developing those 2nd and 3rd tier players. Varejao wouldnt get those minutes to develop anywhere else like he has. Letting Scott walk is a mistake and only creates more uncertainty. Irving’s probably watching the clock even more now.

  6. Grant says:

    I think there are the makings of a good team here for Cleveland. Two good starting guards in beal and irving. Ellington is a good backup at shooting guard. Cavs need a backup point to rest irving. Biggest need for this team is a starting small forward. Gee is ok, and luke Walton was good at times as a playmaking forward. plus cj miles can get hot. but no real 3 of starting quality. Power forward is taken with Thompson improving more and more. But again there’s no backup for him. At center I would consider trading andy varejao due to his injury proness. Last 3 years as a starter he’s only lasted 20 or 30 games. Mareese speights needs to be resigned as he can rebound, defend, and score.

  7. dwan fulwood says:

    Come home Byron the Lakers would love to have you back in the organization. What the heck did they expect without Lebron and no all-stars, no free agents with talent being signed. No Center with post up skills. A owner that has poison the talent pool with his slave owner mentality.Thank Gilbert for letting you go. Byron who in their right mind is going to Cleveland anyway. I was born there and spent the first 17 years of my life plotting to get the heck out of there. I’m in Los Angeles now. I rather sleep under a bridge in L.A. then live in Cleveland.

  8. JKey says:

    Wow, sorry for those Cavs fans out there for the past few years. I do hope the Cavs make the right choice on the coach to get someone who can continue to develop the players and get some toughness on D.

  9. JPS says:

    I see that no one has mentioned that the team utterly quit down the stretch, losing to a D-League version of the Miami Heat and the perennially awful Bobcats with both Waiters and Irving back in their listless final stretch. I don’t care what you think of Scott overall, but it’s difficult to justify paying a guy when the team has obviously given up.

  10. Mars says:

    Byron Scott is a great coach that keeps getting thrown under the bus. We Angelinos would love to have him back home in LA- with the Lakers or the Clippers.

  11. Bub says:

    He was an ok coach. Honestly, with the amount of young talent the Cavs now have, they should definitely have won more than 24 games. Before the season I was expecting us to be about 11 seed, not 3rd last in the league! Hopefully we’ll see a lot of improvement next year.

    • Pakyaw says:

      Talent? Just because they’re a top pick draft,doesn’t mean they’re good…it’s called BUST!..(kwame brown,Adam Morrison,oden?)

  12. Shawn Kemp No. 1 says:

    Well that’s a surprise

  13. jayro says:


    • Jonesy37 says:

      whoa dude. I think you hit the caps lock key by accident half way through that. I also think you left basic grammar at the door. I’d be happy to read to what you meant when it makes sense.

  14. jayro says:

    ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  15. Jim says:

    Every rebuilding project starts wih defence period.And the cavs got worse on that department so yeah I think they need a new coach no need t bother posting names now since the new coach will be hired in summer.

    • Pakyaw says:

      One solution… LEBRON!…Lol..really,what they need is a real talent,and who the hell is this Thompson? 4th draft pick?what a waste…did u see this guy shoot ft? Funny, u can tell right away no future for him

  16. Karlo Garcia says:

    I thought Byron Scott was not given the necessary timeline to rebuild the Cavailers.

  17. Lathyn Barbee says:

    Scott Will be missed! I’m sure he would want what’s best for the cavs regardless of the situation. Coach Scott played his hand and it wasn’t enough. But hopefully the next hand for him will be better.

  18. Bizi says:

    So Wrong. What a scapegoat society we’re living in. Our record does not reflect the level of competition we brought to the league this entire season. Scott held the players accountable for their actions and even though our team was pretty much debilitated for most of the season we still gave teams all that they could handle almost on a nightly basis.
    Good luck Coach Scott

  19. Dave says:

    Yet again, the Cav is relying on “one” No.1 pick player to have deep playoff capability with little to no supporting casts with experience. Getting another rookie from the Top 10 pick the next season is not supporting cast. Are they too cheap or too afraid to spend some money on a big time free agent? I bet Dwight would off made a good addition to Irving and Varejao.

  20. TV63 says:

    Cav fans did very much like Scott. He was likeable and did wonders on rookie development Kyrie, Waiters, Tristan THompson and Zeller. And the truth be known; he unleashed Varejao to score more when healthy. But the biggest ELEPHANT that he could not overcome was “DEFENSE”. IT NEVER IMPROVED IN 3 LONG YEARS!! . It just killed the Cavs over and over much more than the injuries did. He was given 3 years. This more than most NBA teams would have gave. The Cavs didn’t expect playoffs just to win more than 30 games. That’s not asking much folks. Wish Bryon Scott the very BEST!

  21. Dave says:

    Thanks Cavs. Please come back to the Lakers Byron.

    • All City says:

      My thoughts exactly! I just wish the CAVS would of let go at the begging of the season so the LAKERS could of picked him up prior to D’ANT

  22. Mal says:

    Tough situation for Scott. I feel bad for the poor guy because he never really had a chance given the situation he was thrown into. Though the next move needs to be get rid of Chris Grant because the guy stinks as GM. What is Grants qualifications anyway??

    • Blair says:

      Chris grant? what has he done. Drafted Kyrie Irving, think if the Cavs took Derrick Williams instead. Do you know how they got kyrie irving? traded mo williams for a draft pick and Baron Davis contract. Drafted Tristain tompson thought of as a reach at the time? Traded delonte west for Roman sessions. What did that turn into? number 24 in the draft. and the right to swap first round picks in this years draft, so the cavs instead of picking around 30 in this years draft, its late teens instead. Number 24 in 2012 draft Chris traded with two second round picks to get number 17. Drafted Dion Waiters at number 4. called a reach. Only one player I’d take instead that was still on the board and thats drummond, traded a bench warmer in jon Leuer for Mo Speights, Wayne Ellington and a first round draft pick. Also he’s done all this and kept cap space. you think he should be sacked? I wish he was the Gm in the Lebron era

  23. asdasd says:

    i hope dan gilbert and cavs gm bring real players next season to contend for a playoff spot.. you can’t progress with only 2 good players in irving and thompson. waiters is a rookie and varejao is always injured..

    • KareemoftheKrop says:

      The Thunder built off young players and the Cavs can too. Waiters will develop really well. He’ll benefit playing off Kyrie too.

    • matt says:

      “trying to go for a championship” is a bad way to put it, put it, mindset is a better word, because imo every team eventueally goes for the championship but you’re not going to tell me with all this money that a team like say the wizards or something has a legitimate hope of doing so within a season, what the thunder did (besides being very very VERY lucky in the drafts) was put the mindset on an eventual chamionship, if not this year so be it then the next but what they tried to is win games, and it has gotten them far, and as the year progresses and you see you do well in the playoffs like they have then you try to win the series, after you do that and you got that confidence then you start to focus on winning it all and if not, they didn’t get nervous and fired their coach they let them jell even more, wich got them into the finals wich they didn’t win, no problem still not getting nervous…. they’re getting there…… (these expectations will change these playoffs if not, certainly next year) What the cavs do imo is still kicking and screaming they lost Lebron, stop trying to rush things back to where they were give it time like the thunder and things will go way ahead of schedule with the young talent they have, just a veteran more and a good physical coach for the injuries …..

  24. LadyNette says:

    Being a Cleveland fan is a painful experience. We want a winner so bad, but we keep shooting ourselves in the foot with our impatience. Every one should have known that it would take years to get back where we were when LeBron left, especially rebuilding with rookies and very few, if any, veterans. Then you throw in the major injuries that we have had on the team and the process takes longer. But as usual, what we do with all of our teams, we fire the coach and then we have to start all over again and we repeat this same cycle every two to three years — like I said being a Cleveland fan is painful — if we ever learn that continuity is important in a team, that you need the same coach and players to stay together for awhile and work through the rough and tough times and grow together and get better. Not Cleveland — no, we just fire the coach and hope the next one we pick can perform a miracle and we become an elite team — not going to happen, we have just set ourselves back two more years — so painful being a Cleveland fan…..

  25. steppx says:

    tough for scott. He really didnt deserve this. Im not sure what was expected given the situation.