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Scott Says Hornets Have Named Him Coach

Former New Jersey Nets coach Byron Scott will be the next coach of the New Orleans Hornets.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Former New Jersey Nets coach Byron Scott will be the next coach of the New Orleans Hornets.

Scott said Thursday on ESPN, where he works as an analyst, that he has accepted the job and can't wait to start work in New Orleans.

"They were real interested in me, as I was in them, and I jumped on it," Scott said.

Hornets owner George Shinn was not available for comment, and a team spokesman also declined comment. Shinn had said Scott was among his top choices to replace Tim Floyd, who was fired on May 7 after one season.

Scott, 44, coached the Nets to the NBA finals the past two seasons, with losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs. He had a 149-139 record in 3 1/2 seasons before he was fired from the only head coaching job he has held in the NBA.

Scott would be the Hornets' third coach in three seasons since the team moved from Charlotte. Next season the team moves into the tougher Western Conference.

The Hornets fired current Cleveland Coach Paul Silas after the Hornets' first-round elimination in the 2003 playoffs.

After that dismissal, Shinn said he hoped to have a new coach with proven NBA playoff experience. However, he gave a second chance to Floyd, who had struggled with the rebuilding Chicago Bulls in his first NBA job.

Floyd was a successful college coach at New Orleans and Iowa State.

The Hornets got off to a strong start this season, but finished 41-41.

New Orleans again failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs. This year they lost to Miami in seven games.

The Hornets were looking for a coach who would have instant credibility with their veterans, particularly guard Baron Davis who at times was seen waving off Floyd's play calls.

Davis said that as a child he was a fan of Scott, who won three championships as a player with the Lakers.

Scott may also have to deal with former All-Star Jamal Mashburn, who played only 19 games last season because of a knee problem and upset team officials when he said the Hornets mishandled his injury.

Shinn has said he believes Mashburn has good trade value but that the Hornets may try to keep him. Mashburn said only last week that his knee is still bothering him and he is not sure he will be able to play next season.