New Orleans Hornets fire Byron Scott, according to NBA sources - ESPN
The [COLOR=#225fb2]New Orleans Hornets[/COLOR]
have responded to their 3-6 start by making the first coaching change of the young NBA season, firing [COLOR=#225fb2]Byron Scott[/COLOR]
on Thursday, according to NBA coaching sources.
Sources said the Hornets made the decision to dismiss Scott following New Orleans' 124-104 loss in [COLOR=#225fb2]Phoenix[/COLOR]
on Wednesday night and will formally announce the move later Thursday.
A league source told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher that the Hornets will name general Jeff Bower as Scott's replacement and hire veteran coach Tim Floyd as his top assistant.
Scott won NBA Coach of the Year honors in 2008 after he and franchise point guard [COLOR=#225fb2]Chris Paul[/COLOR]
led the Hornets to a 56-26 record and the Southwest Division title. The Hornets then defeated [COLOR=#225fb2]Dallas[/COLOR]
in the first round of the playoffs and were within one win of the West finals before losing Game 7 at home to the [COLOR=#225fb2]San Antonio Spurs[/COLOR]
The Hornets slumped slightly to a 49-33 record last season, thanks partly to a flurry of injuries. They were pounded in the first round of the playoffs by [COLOR=#225fb2]Denver[/COLOR]
, losing the final home game of the season -- Game 4 of the series -- by a whopping 58 points.
Scott hung onto his job after the early exit but couldn't survive New Orleans' poor start, even though the many holes on the Hornets' roster -- with no consistent scorer at the wing positions and little depth -- appeared to be beyond his control. A number of league observers considered a coaching change inevitable if the Hornets struggled this season.
The firing is the second major move the Hornets have made since the end of last season in an attempt to address Paul's growing frustrations. In July, New Orleans sent center [COLOR=#225fb2]Tyson Chandler[/COLOR]
, who was plagued by foot problems throughout last season, to the [COLOR=#225fb2]Charlotte Bobcats[/COLOR]
for [COLOR=#225fb2]Emeka Okafor[/COLOR]
The team's payroll is more than $3 million over the league's $69.9 million luxury-tax threshold, making owner George Shinn reluctant to sanction further roster renovations. The Hornets have been trying to make moves to get under the luxury-tax line since acquiring Okafor, as opposed to searching for players who can bolster Paul's supporting cast. Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher contributed to this report.