Agent: Byron Scott, Cavs Agree to Terms
Less than a day after Byron Scott's agent, Brian McInerney, publicly congratulated his competition for winning the job and Scott himself wished the Cavs well in a late-night phone call, McInerney told FanHouse that Scott has agreed to "essential terms (of a contract), with details to be worked out throughout the night."
Meanwhile, the former front-runner, Lakers assistant Brian Shaw, removed his name from consideration on Wednesday afternoon, according to his agent, Jerome Stanley.
In an interview with FanHouse, Scott's agent, McInerney, had denied reports that it was a foregone conclusion Scott would become the Cavs coach, but he would say less than two hours later, "The presentation was very aggressive and didn't require hours of negotiation."
While financial terms of the agreement are not known, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert clearly came prepared with an offer that Scott, who earned $5.5 million annually in his last head coaching job with New Orleans, couldn't refuse. McInerney said the deal is for three years, but could be four depending on the language of the contract pertaining to a potential lockout next summer. Either way, the final year - be it the fourth or fifth - will be a team option.
"Dan has proven to be an owner who will invest his money to win a championship," said McInerney, who would not disclose the rough terms. "We're happy about it."
McInerney said he spoke with Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant on Wednesday morning and agreed to re-enter discussions once he contacted Scott. The problem, McInerney said, was that Scott -- who was convinced the job was going to Shaw -- had left McInerney's house in Michigan to spend the day with a friend in Arkansas and turned off his phone.
When news of the negotiations were first reported by ESPN.com early Wednesday evening, McInerney tracked Scott down through other channels and arranged a conference call to move forward that began at 11:40 p.m. ET. The NBA free agency period was set to begin at 12:01 a.m. ET Thursday, highlighted by the competition to sign Cavaliers star LeBron James.
"Byron is going back to his hotel room and will take part in a three-way conference call with Chris Grant to see what they're talking about and what the possibilities are," McInerney said then. "I reached Byron in Arkansas at 10:05 my time and agreed to have a conversation with Chris Grant regarding the possibility of negotiating.
"We haven't had negotiations. We have no outline of anything. There's nothing."
Still, the turn of events within one day was nothing short of remarkable. Late Tuesday evening, Scott received calls at McInerney's home from Gilbert, Grant and assistant general manager Lance Blanks. The fact that they were on speaking terms was notable in and of itself, as Scott had publicly vented at the Cavs for how they handled the process and McInerney had been highly critical as well.
Scott, who had vented privately and fearlessly at Grant on Sunday night, was told the Cavs still had interest but was highly skeptical and almost dismissive. The conversations ended with Scott parting ways, telling the Cavs officials to have a great season and endorsing Shaw as a quality pick.
As FanHouse first reported, Shaw looked to be close to a deal on Tuesday morning. Stanley had even said as much in the Los Angeles Times. But after perhaps moving too quickly in the process, Stanley sounded very different a day later, claiming Wednesday evening that the timing and the fit just didn't work.
The strong, if not consistent, indication is that Shaw wanted to know if James would be returning or not before committing.
"They (the Cavs) need someone to be engaged in this process pretty quickly, and Brian wasn't prepared for that," Stanley told FanHouse. "Brian feels like it's a great organization, and they have a great opportunity there, especially in keeping LeBron James, but he didn't feel the timing was right."
Scott and Shaw had both hoped to land the Lakers job when Phil Jackson retires, but Stanley insisted that his client's decision to withdraw was made independent of Jackson's situation. The Lakers coach continues to deliberate his future and is expected to announce his decision in the coming days.
That did, however, play a part in Scott's thinking. As indications have grown stronger that Jackson will return, McInerney said it certainly makes the Cavaliers post more attractive.
It remains unclear what, if any, effect James' view has had on the last few days, although numerous parties involved said it was significant and that he clearly made it known he would prefer Scott over Shaw if he returns.