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Mitch Kupchak on Byron Scott’s shaky job status: ‘I’ll let you know’


Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak quickly grew weary of inquiries about the uncertain hold Byron Scott has on the team’s head coaching position when addressing the media for the first time since the All-Star break. So much so, in fact, that a Lakers PR staffer eventually was forced to run interference.

“Byron is under contract, and until that changes, or if that changes, I’ll let you know,” Kupchak said on Wednesday at the team’s practice facility, via ESPN.

When the media pressed Kupchak further on Scott’s future with the organization and whether he felt the coach has done a good job this season, the GM tried again to avoid the issue.

“Once again, I don’t want to get into a Byron discussion right now,” Kupchak said. “So I’m not going to really answer any more questions about Byron, because I’m concerned that one question will lead to another, and if his status changes, I will let you know.”

The Lakers are a Western Conference-worst 11-44 heading into the unofficial second half of the season and Scott’s performance has been uninspiring at best, especially concerning his dealings with and handling of rookie D’Angelo Russell, whom the head coach has had no problems criticizing through the media. Scott also has been questioned for how he’s overseeing Russell’s playing time.

Then again, in defense of Scott, the Lakers organization essentially conceded that the 2015-16 season was more about giving Kobe Bryant a fitting farewell in his final season instead of developing young talent and preparing for the future.

Reports this week indicated the Lakers are “torn” about keeping Scott on for the third and last guaranteed year on his contract.

A reporter later again brought up Scott when asking a question about his questionable handling of Russell, prompting Lakers VP of public relations John Black to interrupt, saying, “Excuse me, he’s not answering Byron questions.”

Kupchak then cracked a joke about it, saying, “I was going to let him finish and then say that, as part of his punishment. So, John, I can handle that.”