INDEPENDENCE — Byron Scott was fired today after compiling a 64-166 record in three seasons as Cavaliers coach.
“I fully support the difficult move that was made today,” Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said in a statement released by the organization. “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.”
Gilbert noted the Cavs have had injury problems, but also pointed out the team’s defensive shortcomings.
“Our fans have been incredibly loyal and supportive during these transition years,” the owner said. “They deserve better than we have been delivering as of late and it is our full intent to deliver.”
Scott had one year left on his contract, at approximately $4 million.
Possible replacements include former Cavs assistant Michael Malone and former NBA head coaches Nate McMillan, Jeff Van Gundy, Stan Van Gundy and Flip Saunders, to name just a few.
“I have a tremendous respect for Byron professionally and a great deal of admiration for him personally,” general manager Chris Grant said in a statement. “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 on the court.
“I believe we needed to make this change in order to get to a better position to achieve our goals.”
Scott’s .278 winning percentage was the third-worst in NBA history for someone who coached at least 200 games with one team, trailing only Chicago’s Tim Floyd (.205, 49-190 from 1998-2002) and Miami’s Ron Rothstein (.232, 57-189 from 1988-91).
Scott’s mark was also the second-worst three-year record in NBA history immediately following a 50-win season.
“I want to thank Chris Grant, Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers organization for the opportunity I had to coach this team the last three seasons,” Scott said in a statement released by the team.
“I am certainly proud of the progress that many of our young players have made and greatly appreciate the dedication of my coaches and our team in our efforts to attain the success we all desired.”
The 52-year-old Scott coached the Cavs to a 19-63 mark in 2010-11, a 21-45 mark in 2011-12 and a 24-58 finish this season.
Cleveland lost an NBA-record 26 games in a row — and 36 out of 37 — in his first season and concluded 2012-13 by dropping six straight and 16 of its last 18.
Cleveland finished last in the league this season in field goal percentage allowed and lost four games in which it led by at least 20 points. Prior to this season, the Cavs had won 116 straight when they led by that margin.
Cleveland blew a franchise-record 27-point lead vs. Miami, a 26-point lead at Phoenix, a 22-point margin vs. New York and a 20-point lead vs. Indiana.
The Cavs led the latter game by 20 with nine minutes left. NBA teams had been 4,382-1 when leading by at least that many points at the nine-minute mark.
In addition to defensive shortcomings, Scott also struggled with in-game substitutions and utilizing timeouts.
His three-year stay in Cleveland was marred by tons of injuries, most notably to center Anderson Varejao each of the last three seasons and point guard Kyrie Irving the past two.
The Cavs never made a serious attempt to win in Scott’s three years, and he willingly went along with the organization’s plan to build around young players like Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters.
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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