The Los Angeles Lakers introduced Byron Scott as their new head coach on Tuesday, closing up any uncertainty as to who would be the coach to lead the Lakers into a new era of rebuilding. The week prior to Scott’s press conference, the Lakers acquired Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis after losing out on highly sought after free agent Carmelo Anthony who returned to the New York Knicks, now under Phil Jackson’s leadership.
Though the Lakers were certainly a candidate in Anthony’s free agency process, he later admitted that he’d narrowed down his top destinations to New York and Chicago, while momentarily being wooed by the possibility of Los Angeles immediately after the purple and gold pitch.
Though the Lakers were optimistic they’d have a real shot at acquiring Anthony, ultimately, what transpired in free agency was for the most part what the Lakers expected.
I think this off-season, although we didn’t get the big free agent that I think you’re referring to (Carmelo Anthony), it went pretty much as expected for us,” Kupchak said at the Lakers practice facility on Tuesday.
Kupchak also clarified that he didn’t feel that the Lakers in any way compromised their position in the free agent market by waiting on Anthony’s decision and that their priority focused to re-signing their own free agents after losing out on the Anthony sweepstakes.
“They were as good as almost any free agent available,” Kupchak said of the Lakers returning players.
Regarding Pau Gasol’s decision to start a new chapter of his career in Chicago, Kupchak admitted the last two years were very difficult for Gasol. Referring back to the vetoed Chris Paul deal that would have sent Gasol to the Houston Rockets, Kupchak acknowledged that it hadn’t been an easy past couple of years for Gasol, agreeing that Gasol felt Chicago was best for his career and could put him in a better position to win right away.
The Lakers could still make one or two moves this off-season. They have recently expressed interest in signing free agent forward Michael Beasley who participated in a private workout with the Lakers Wednesday morning.
VIDEO: Byron Scott, “All About Championships. Period.”