The first time Byron Scott was fired, Lawrence Frank took his job. Now they’re both looking for work, and the NBA’s coaching carousel is already spinning in three cities.
Scott was fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Frank was ousted by the Detroit Pistons, and Doug Collins resigned as coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, all three Thursday, a day after the end of the regular season.
And now the wait continues to see what happens in other cities, such as Sacramento, Toronto, and maybe even Atlanta.
‘‘There’s a lot of things I want to enjoy,’’ Collins said. ‘‘I think it’s every man’s dream to be able to live that life that you've worked so hard to try and live. That’s what I want to do.’’
All three of the coaches who were packing their offices Thursday missed the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, after leading teams that combined for records of 87-159.
Collins essentially chose his own fate, though he could have stayed on the 76ers’ sideline if he was so inclined with one year and $4.5 million left on his contract. He will remain with Philadelphia as an adviser. Scott and Frank weren’t as fortunate.
Scott was hired by the Cavaliers about a week before LeBron James decided that he wanted to leave Cleveland and join the Heat. James’s Heat won 66 games this season alone; Scott’s three Cavaliers teams combined to win 64 in three seasons, and owner Dan Gilbert said the team’s lack of significant growth on the defensive end played a big part in the coach’s downfall.
Scott and Frank were probably the two coaches most likely to face firings in this offseason. Frank was a Nets assistant when the then-New Jersey franchise fired Scott in 2004. Frank took over for his former boss, in what became his first stint leading an NBA club. He won his first 13 games with the Nets — who ultimately fired Frank after he went 0-16 to open the 2009-10 season.
The Pistons brought Frank on before the start of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. He went 54-94 with Detroit, and the franchise — which has some free agent money to spend this summer — clearly felt he didn’t figure into the long-term plan.
‘‘Yes, you can tell the world: We’re ready to spend,’’ Pistons owner Tom Gores said.
Scott went 64-166 in his three years with the Cavaliers, who were weakened by injuries this season but lost four games they led by more than 20 points and often played without passion. Scott, 52, was fired one day after Cleveland closed another frustrating season with its sixth straight loss to finish 24-58 — the NBA’s third-worst record.
The Sixers went 34-48 and missed the playoffs for the first time in his three seasons.
‘‘I don’t want to ever have to drop my head. I didn’t fail,’’ Collins said. ‘‘Did we have the year that we wanted to have? Absolutely not. But a lot of that was out of our control.’’
Lakers settle into seventh
Dwight Howard had a simple message for the Lakers after Chandler Parsons’s 34-foot, line-drive 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer added five minutes to the final game of Los Angeles’s already exhausting regular season.
Nothing has been easy for the Lakers all year long, Howard told his teammates. Why should the finale be any different?
With five more minutes of perseverance, the Lakers ended up with quite a reward. After getting up Wednesday morning with no guarantee their season wouldn’t end that night, they surged into the seventh playoff spot in the West with a 99-95 overtime victory over the visiting Houston Rockets.
Steve Blake scored 24 points and Pau Gasol added his seventh career triple-double for the Lakers (45-37), who only clinched a postseason berth about 10 minutes before tipoff. Despite Parsons’s improbable tying basket, Los Angeles won again without Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, earning a first-round date with second-seeded San Antonio.
Gasol had 17 points, 20 rebounds, and 11 assists in his second triple-double in three games for the Lakers, who avoided missing the playoffs for the second time in Bryant’s 17-year career.
Howard had 16 points and 18 rebounds for the Lakers, and the All-Star center blocked James Harden’s shot in the final seconds of overtime to finish up the Lakers’ fifth straight win, their eighth in nine games.
The Lakers traveled a long bumpy road to the playoffs: They had a winless preseason, and coach Mike Brown was abruptly fired after a slow start. Mike D'Antoni arrived and tried to figure out a way for the big, slow Lakers to play his small, quick style. It didn’t work, and the Lakers slumped to 17-25. Then beloved owner Jerry Buss died in February, casting a pall on the rest of the season.
Best in show
Carmelo Anthony won his first scoring title when he and Kevin Durant both sat out their games. Anthony finished with 28.7 points per game in becoming the first Knicks player since Bernard King in 1984-85 to win the scoring title. Durant averaged 28.1 points, falling short in his bid to join Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to win four straight scoring titles. The Warriors clinched the No. 6 spot by beating Portland, 99-88, as Stephen Curry set a NBA single-season record with 272 3-pointers. A shot with 6:49 left in the half put Curry in front of Ray Allen’s mark of 269 set in 2005-06.