Byron Scott will not return as LA Lakers head coach next season

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Byron Scott will not return as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, the team announced Sunday evening.

The Lakers told Scott they would not pick up his contract option for next season.

"We would like to thank Byron for his hard work, dedication and loyalty over the last two years, but have decided it is in the best interest of the organization to make a change at this time," said General Manager Mitch Kupchak in a written statement.

In two seasons as head coach, Scott had a 38-126 record as the team missed the playoffs both seasons.

Both seasons were the worst records in franchise history. Scott has the worst career win percentage among NBA coaches who have coached at least 1,000 games.

Scott had said he "absolutely" expected to remain the head coach of the Lakers back on April 15.

MORE: Byron Scott expects to be back with Lakers, dismisses coaching critics

Scott, who spent 11 seasons as a shooting guard for the Lakers, won three championships with the team playing alongside Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 80s.

The move comes as Lakers legend Kobe Bryant retired and the team was planning to rebuild with young talent.

But Scott faced criticism for his handling of young players during Bryant's final season.

The Lakers dealt with several off-the-court distractions, including a leaked video that appeared to show rookie D'Angelo Russell recording a private conversation with veteran teammate Nick Young.

MORE: D'Angelo Russell, Lakers try to move on from aftermath of video

Russell, the second overall pick in the NBA draft last season, is viewed as an essential building block for the Lakers.

The Lakers are expected to have a high pick in the upcoming NBA draft after finishing with the second-worst record in the league.

The next head coach of the Lakers will be the team's fifth since Phil Jackson left Los Angeles in 2011. Jackson captured five championships as head coach of the Lakers from 1999 through 2011.

The Lakers stated the search for a new head coach started immediately. Rumored front-runners for the head coach opening include former Lakers player and current Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton, University of Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie and Villanova University head coach Jay Wright.
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