Byron Scott was a three-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, but even he had to be realistic about the gap between the Lakers and their L.A. rivals.
During an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump on Wednesday, Scott, who coached the Lakers for two seasons, said he’d take a meeting with the Los Angeles Clippers over the Lakers if he were a free agent.
“If you want to come to L.A., I might say, ‘Let me look at the Clippers first,'” Scott said. “If I am Kawhi Leonard and I’m getting pursued by both L.A. teams, I think I’m gonna take a harder look at the Clippers because of the stability that they have.”
Dysfunction has been the predominant theme for the Lakers both during and after their 2018-19 season.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Ohm Youngmisuk outlined a number of the issues that led to the team finishing 37-45 and missing the playoffs by 11 games.
Then came Magic Johnson’s sudden resignation as president of basketball operations April 9. Johnson acknowledged he hadn’t informed team owner Jeanie Buss of his decision before speaking to reporters.
Johnson wasn’t done. He appeared on First Take on Monday to accuse Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka of undermining him behind the scenes. He also put Buss in the crosshairs, contending she was allowing too many people to have input on personnel moves.
Leaving all of that aside, the opportunity to play alongside LeBron James may not be too alluring for marquee free agents who want to be the clear top stars on their squads. Paul George didn’t even give the Lakers a meeting before re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder last summer.
The Lakers have 16 championship banners hanging inside Staples Center and play in one of the biggest media markets in the world. Those strengths don’t necessarily outweigh all of the franchise’s problems at the moment.
The Clippers are in the almost exact opposite position. They don’t have a long history of success but boast a strong infrastructure and overachieved by earning the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
By going to the Clippers, a free agent would get the benefits of playing in L.A. under one of the league’s best coaches (Doc Rivers), without having to deal with the drama besetting the Lakers.