Hours before LeBron James' first free agent meetings began, the Cavaliers gave him something else to consider.
Byron Scott could be named the Cavaliers' 19th coach in team history as soon as this afternoon, according to a source close to the Cavaliers.
Scott's hiring will cap a dramatic week in which his agent, Brian McInerney, wrote a concession speech congratulating Brian Shaw for getting the job, only to watch Shaw back out on Wednesday, leaving Scott as the last remaining legitimate candidate.
The Cavaliers moved quickly to get something done with Scott, the candidate with the best resume throughout this process. He replaces Mike Brown, who was fired after failing to lead the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals despite producing the league's best record each of the last two years. Scott takes over a team riddled with more questions than answers, the biggest being the undecided fate of James. The hiring of Scott, who led the Nets to consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals and won three championships as a player with the Lakers, delivers an instant boost of credibility to a Cavaliers franchise that has been riddled with strife since its stunning elimination in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Within weeks, coach Mike Brown was fired, General Manager Danny Ferry resigned and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo withdrew his name from consideration.
McInerney told the Beacon Journal earlier this week that Scott wouldn't need a commitment from or have to talk to James before accepting the Cavaliers position. Turns out, he was right.
Scott takes over a franchise that has won 127 games over the last two regular seasons, but was eliminated in six games by Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals two years ago before the Celtics eliminated the Cavs in six games last season.
The lack of a championship in James' seven years has forced him to contemplate leaving home for the first time in his life. After his meetings today with the Knicks and Nets, more are scheduled with the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers. But the Cavs' bold move will give James something else to consider.
Scott and Shaw were both considered finalists for the job with the Los Angeles Lakers, too, should Phil Jackson decide to retire. Shaw has been an assisant the last five years under Jackson and won three championships as a player under him.
Scott is considered ``old Laker blood'' for his days with the Showtime Lakers of Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. McInerney doesn't deny that the Lakers' job is still his dream job, but insists ``Byron is only 49. He still has time.''
There was some hesitation in trying to follow Jackson's legacy, according to a source close to Scott's camp. Between Pat Riley's retirement and Jackson's hire the first time in Los Angeles, the Lakers went through seven coaches and won nothing. Scott apparently is happy to coach the Cavaliers now and chase the Lakers job later on in his career.
Scott's hiring might increase the chances of the Cavaliers bringing back Shaquille O'Neal. The two remain incredibly close after playing together for a year in Los Angeles and the Cavaliers are currently without a true center under contract.
Scott believes O'Neal can still be a productive player, according to a source, if his minutes are limited and his price tag is right. O'Neal made $20 million last year, but won't even make half of that in his next contract.
Scott's hiring allowed owner Dan Gilbert to reach his deadline by a matter of hours. The day Ferry resigned as GM, Gilbert said he would like to have a coach in place by July 1.
Scott has arrived on deadline day. Now the question remains, will James follow?