Byron Scott has been relieved of his coaching duties and the team will make the formal announcement at a press conference later this afternoon. This comes in the wake of a disappointing 3-6 start to the season, and, most recently, a completely lackluster and discouraging performance against the Suns in a nationally televised blowout on Wednesday night.
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Steve Nash said after the game that the Hornets team he just faced lacked a certain "spirit," and he should know: it's something Nash and the Suns struggled with last year under their head coach Terry Porter, who was similarly fired during the season.
If the Hornets are to turn it around, it will be without Scott, who won a Coach of the Year award with the club back in 2008. But the team has taken a considerable slide since then, a year in which they pushed the San Antonio Spurs to seven games in the second round of the playoffs. To end the 2009 season, you may recall New Orleans lost to the Nuggets by an embarrassing 58 points.
As Tom Ziller pointed out via e-mail, the Hornets' assistant coaches' lineup isn't exactly stacked, so you have to wonder if they had a big name in their back pocket before deciding to make this decision. Maybe someone like Avery Johnson, who is a New Orleans native and is said to have a competitive nature similar to that of the team's All-World point guard, Chris Paul?
If the team does go in that direction, it won't happen immediately. The plan for now is to have GM Jeff Bower take over the coaching duties, and to bring Tim Floyd on staff as one of his assistants.
"I want to thank Byron for the hard work he has put in during his time with the Hornets," said Hornets Owner George Shinn. "I've hired Jeff Bower to take over the coaching reign. He knows this team better than anyone, has the respect of the players and in basketball circles, is regarded as one of the best basketball minds in the business. This is our best opportunity to reach our goals this season."