New Deals For Scott And Popovich

NBA coach of the year Byron Scott and the New Orleans Hornets agreed in principle to a contract extension on Wednesday.

Hornets spokesman Harold Kaufman confirmed the deal but said he could not disclose the terms of the agreement.

Scott said shortly after the Hornets were eliminated by San Antonio in the second round of the NBA playoffs that he believed the Hornets, led by point guard Chris Paul, were a team on the rise and that he did not expect to go elsewhere as long as he received a fair offer. The coach also accompanied Hornets general manager Jeff Bower to Orlando this week to watch prospects participate in pre-draft workouts.

Scott said he hoped to get a raise from his current $3.5 million annual salary to a figure closer to what the “top five or six” coaches in the league earn.

The highest paid coach in the NBA is the Los Angeles Lakers’ Phil Jackson, who’s paid about $10.3 million, followed by Golden State’s Don Nelson and the New York Knicks’ Mike D’Antoni, who both get around $6 million.

After this season ended, Scott had the option of either staying with the Hornets at his current salary or buying out of his contract for a little more than $2 million.

When Scott took over as coach following the 2003-04 season, he was the Hornets’ third coach in three seasons.

In his first season, he oversaw the dismantling of an aging roster, which resulted in an 18-64 record. The Hornets drafted Paul the following summer and improved their win total by 20 the following season, despite being displaced to Oklahoma City by Hurricane Katrina.

Still playing in Oklahoma City in 2006-07, the Hornets narrowly missed the playoffs before returning to New Orleans full-time for this season and winning the rugged Southwest Division with a franchise-record 56 victories.

The Hornets beat Dallas in the opening round of the playoffs before losing to San Antonio in seven games in the Western Conference semifinals.

Coach Gregg Popovich has signed a contract extension with the San Antonio Spurs.

Popovich confirmed the extension with the defending NBA champions, which runs through the 2011-12 season, before the Spurs’ Game 4 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

Popovich has led the Spurs and star Tim Duncan to four NBA titles, in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007. Last year, the Spurs swept the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games.

Duncan last fall agreed to a two-year extension with the Spurs that will keep him in San Antonio at least through the 2011-12 season.

The Spurs’ title defense is currently on the line. They are down 3-1 to the Lakers in the Western Conference finals and face elimination on Thursday night in Game 5.

Popovich became the Spurs’ head coach in December 1996. He has a 632-302 (.677) regular-season record.

Credit: ESPN