Byron Scott Is Hired as Cavaliers Coach as LeBron James Enters Free Agency

Byron Scott was hired as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers on the same day that LeBron James became a free agent.

Scott, 49, led the New Jersey Nets to consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals in 2002-03 and was voted the National Basketball Association’s Coach of the Year in 2008 with the New Orleans Hornets. Contract details weren’t disclosed.

“I’m anxious to get going and to build on the success the Cavaliers have experienced in recent years,” Scott said in a statement on Cleveland’s website last night. “This is a great job and an impressive organization and I’m very happy to be a part of it.”

Scott succeeds Mike Brown, who was fired in May after the team’s second-round playoff loss. The hiring could make Scott the next coach for James, who won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award the past two seasons while leading the Cavaliers to a 127- 37 record.

James is the NBA’s most coveted free agent this offseason and from yesterday began to have meetings with teams such as the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers.

Scott coached the Nets in 2001-04 and the New Orleans Hornets in 2004-10, compiling a 352-355 record. He was named Coach of the Year after leading the Hornets to a 56-26 record in the 2007-8 season.

Scott won three NBA titles as a player over 14 seasons, including 11 with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Byron’s combination of high-level success and depth of experience, both as a head coach and as a player, is a tremendous asset,” Cleveland’s General Manager Chris Gant said. “He’s a strong leader with a proven track record of winning in both the regular season and the playoffs.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

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