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New Orleans Hornets Fire Byron Scott

According to NOLA.com and ESPN, The New Orleans Hornets have fired head coach Byron Scott.  The Blazers are set to play New Orleans tomorrow.

The Hornets, led by all-world point guard Chris Paul, had hoped to be a mid-level contender in the Western Conference but have started out the season 3-6. 

ESPN's Marc Stein writes...

The New Orleans Hornets have responded to their 3-6 start by making the first coaching change of the young NBA season, firing Byron Scott on Thursday, according to NBA coaching sources.

Sources said the Hornets made the decision to dismiss Scott following New Orleans' 124-104 loss in Phoenix on Wednesday night and will formally announce the move later Thursday.

It was not immediately known who will replace Scott.

No word yet if the emergence of a bigger, badder, ballhandling Greg Oden was a contributing factor in the decision.

Scott was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2007-2008 and had been hailed for overachieving with his young Hornets team.

There are no big name coaches on Scott's assistant coaching staff so it will be interesting to see which direction they go.  Hopefully the security outside Monty Williams' hotel room is in place.

Update (11:02AM):  Ric Bucher reports...

the Hornets are adding head coach to GM Jeff Bower's duties and bringing in Tim Floyd to be top assistant

TickTock6 of the Hornets blog HornetsHype weighs in hilariously on the decision...

Yeah, whoo, Jeff Bower. He doesnt need to be coaching. He needs to be trying to trade the massive life-sucking contracts he gave old players

So, to sum up. FiringScott & replacing him with an NBA coach = maybe good move. Firing him to replace with NO ONE = what we were afraid of    

Update (11:13 AM): David Aldridge tweets...

Hornets will retain assistant coaches Charlie Parker, Robert Pack and Rob Werdann...

Update (11:30AM): A nice summary from Mark Deeks of Bulls Confidential.

Given a warped roster, one hastily put together with payroll coming first and basketball second, Scott couldn't find a combination that worked. He juggled veterans such as Morris Peterson, Devin Brown and Peja Stojakovic seemingly randomly, and overplayed young point guard Bobby Brown to the point of anguish, as if betting the over on how many shots Brown could get up in a 15 minute span.

Here's the official announcement from Hornets.com.

"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." 
...
"Accountability was our theme this past summer," said Hornets Vice President of Basketball Chad Shinn. "We talked about the fact that everyone on our staff is held to a certain standard of performance and we didn't feel this was happening at the head coach level. We feel like we still have an opportunity with our nucleus to get to where we want and Jeff is the right guy, right now to move us in that direction from the bench."

ESPN's Chad Ford tweets...

What only those who think with their wallets, not their heads could've predicted: Jeff Bower is the new head coach ... Shinn gotta save $$$

Update (12:38PM): Kevin Pelton writes...

Scott sealed his own fate with his reluctance to trust young players. Part of an optimistic assessment of the Hornets in Pro Basketball Prospectus 2009-10 was the belief that Bower had upgraded the team's bench by signing Diogu, trading for Darius Songaila and drafting Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton. Though Diogu has been unable to play, Collison and Thornton have been biding their time on the bench. Instead, the Browns-Bobby and Devin-have been given entirely too many minutes. Bobby Brown has the team's second-highest usage rate (26.2 percent of possessions while on the floor) despite a dismal 44.4 percent True Shooting Percentage. All of that is consistent with his miserable rookie season split between Sacramento and Minnesota. Why was he playing over Collison, the Hornets' NBA-ready first-round pick? Brown is nothing more than a replacement-level stopgap at shooting guard, and while he might be better than Thornton right now, Thornton at least deserves an opportunity-especially with the team struggling so badly.    

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

PS Thanks to Badalonia Baddie who had it first in the Fanshots

PPS Let's just say that this scenario (star unhappy, once-popular coach "loses team", star and management likely have closed-door talks, team hits a rough patch on the court, coach gets axed, GM replaces coach) is Nate McMillan's worst nightmare.