Hornets' Scott says he'd like contract extension

Updated: May 10, 2006, 9:57 PM ET
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- New Orleans Hornets coach Byron Scott said Wednesday he has not yet entered negotiations to extend his contract but would like to have a new deal worked out before next season.

"I would love to get it done in the offseason," Scott said at a ceremony where Chris Paul was named rookie of the year. "But if we don't get it done, it still wouldn't be something I would worry about, to be honest with you. I think I've proven in the six years I've been in this league as a head coach that I can get the job done. It's not something I'm worried about."

Scott is 56-108 in two seasons as the Hornets' coach, but finished fifth in voting for coach of the year after the Hornets won 20 more games this season than a season ago. When he was hired in May 2004, he was given a three-year deal worth a little more than $10 million.

In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this week, team owner George Shinn said he expected to reach an agreement with Scott and said he had begun the discussion by approaching his coach.

"I called Byron and I said, 'Byron, I think you're doing a great job. I personally like you and I want you to be a part of this franchise, not for just a short period but for the long term,'" Shinn said.

Shinn said he offered to negotiate a contract personally with Scott or have general manager Jeff Bower talk to Scott's business manager about it.

"I'm confident because he loves his team and he sees a good one and he wants to stay," Shinn said. "We're going to do everything to make that happen."

Scott's business manager, Brian McInerney, said the coach's immediate concern was putting his team together for next season and that contract talks could wait for now.

Scott, who was 149-139 in 3 seasons with New Jersey, said he was confident a new deal could be worked out although he's never completely certain until he signs on the dotted line.

"Right now, that's not a big pressing issue to me," said Scott, who led the Nets to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. "We'd love to get it done sometime maybe in June or something like that. But right now, I really want to kind of concentrate on these guys that we're going to be bringing in for this draft."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press