CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Byron Scott is out after three years as Head Coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, just six months removed from a contract extension. Scott could not overcome a disastrous closing stretch and growing concerns he had lost all-star point guard Kyrie Irving’s ear.
General Manager Chris Grant lamented coaching change in a release:
“I have tremendous respect for Byron professionally and a great deal of admiration for him personally. At the same time, it is critical for where we are as a team to ensure that we capitalize on every opportunity for development and success and we have fallen short of that on the court,” said Grant. “I believe we needed to make this change in order to get to a better position to achieve our goals. I know I speak on behalf of the entire Cavs organization and the Cleveland community, in thanking Byron for his three years here and his hard work and many contributions on and off the court. We wish Bryon and his wife, Anita, the best.”
The firing comes not even a full 24 hours after the Cavs’ season ended with a loss to Charlotte and a six-game losing streak — the kind of streak that had become all-too familiar during Byron Scott’s tenure in Cleveland. It was part of a complete collapse by the ailing Cavs, as they lost 16 of their final 18 games, finishing with the third-worst record in the league (24-58). Scott tallied 166 losses in his three years as head coach, while winning just 64 games, two less than LeBron James’ Heat won this season alone. The Cavs finished dead last in the Central Division each year of Scott’s reign.
Scott spoke constantly the last few weeks about not having his full complement of players, with Anderson Varejao, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters missing a combined 103 games. But many felt around the organization that the culture of losing an enveloped the roster and the staff, something Dan Gilbert ultimately had to be concerned about.
In the release, Dan Gilbert expressed his gratitude for Scott’s services.
“I wish Byron Scott and his entire family the best going forward. Byron is a class guy, both on and off the court, and I thank him for his three years of coaching the Cavaliers.”
“I fully support the difficult move that was made today. Although we saw progress with young individual player development, we did not see the kind of progress we expected on the team level this past season. We understand it was challenging with the injuries, but when you are at our stage in the building process, you don’t only measure team progress in wins and losses.”
One of the prevailing issues with the Cavs since the All-Star break were the team’s proclivity for huge late-game letdowns. In the last few months of the season, the Cavs blew a 27-point lead to the Heat, squandered a 22-point advantage over the Knicks, and a 20 point fourth quarter edge over the Pacers wasn’t safe either. Eventually someone had to pay for those failures, and today the blame was laid at the doorsteps of Byron Scott.
When Byron Scott was hired in 2010, his immediate goal was to help the Cavaliers land LeBron James during the free agency frenzy. The day he was tabbed as the Cavaliers coach also coincided with day one of the ballyhooed “free agency summit.” After LeBron’s infamous “Decision,” it was up to Scott to be the caretaker of the organization to help usher them back to respectability. Instead, the Cavaliers languished at the bottom and the only identity his team was able to foster was that of one of the league’s worst.
Things looked much better heading into this season for Scott when his one-year option was picked up less than a week before the year started. At the time there seemed to be support for him in the organization, but another losing season and the perception that his team had quit on him became his undoing.