Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error After almost three months passed since fielding a head-coaching vacancy, the Lakers have finally narrowed in on a candidate who is familiar with the franchise.Byron Scott.Long the presumptive favorite after having three interviews and informal discussions with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive Jim Buss, Scott entered the beginning stages in negotiating his contract with the Lakers, according to a league source familiar with the situation. The Lakers have not provided a contract offer. But Scott was informed late Thursday night they would like him to become their next head coach, taking on a heavy task in accelerating the team’s rebuilding process after finishing last season with the worst record in L.A. franchise history. The Lakers narrowed their focus on evaluating prospects for the NBA draft in late June. They then wanted to fill out their roster this month during free agency to allow the personnel to dictate which coaching style they would prefer. The Lakers have never listed this as a factor, but they are still paying Mike Brown and D’Antoni after both lasted no more than two seasons in the past three years. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers are still paying Scott after he was fired in 2013, though the terms are not clear. Scott oversees a Lakers team that is far different from when he won three NBA championships during the Showtime Era. The Lakers are a season removed from finishing with a 27-55, partly because of a rash of injuries most notably to Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. But it appears Scott’s ties with the Lakers will build enough equity with a fanbase that hardly evoked much support both for Brown and D’Antoni. Contrary to what ESPN’s Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose recently suggested, two Lakers officials strongly disputed that the coaching delay stemmed from waiting to see if Clippers coach Doc Rivers would become available because of embattled owner Donald Sterling prolonging a costly litigation battle. Clippers interim Chief executive Dick Parsons testified in court Tuesday that Rivers does not want to continue to coach if Sterling still owns the team next season, but there is league-wide skepticism that would actually materialize. Scott, who served as an analyst last season for Time Warner Cable SportsNet, is considered close with Bryant after providing a mentor role for the Lakers’ star during his rookie season in the 1996-97 campaign. “We’ve had a tremendously close relationship throughout the years,” Bryant said this month at his camp in Santa Barbara. “So obviously I know him extremely well, he knows me extremely well and I’ve always been a fan of his.”In addition to spending 10 of his 14 years in the NBA with the Lakers, Scott had head-coaching stints with the New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers. He was fired last year after the Cavaliers lost 16 of their final 18 games to finish at 24-58, the third-worst record in the NBA. But Scott led the Nets to two NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003 before losing to the Lakers and San Antonio Spurs in subsequent years and was also named the NBA’s Coach of the Year for guiding the Hornets into the playoffs for the 2007-08 season.Scott was also considered a candidate to coach the Clippers last season. But the Clippers surprisingly acquired Rivers as part of a trade with the Celtics for a 2015 first round pick. It appears unlikely Scott would experience any unexpected twist with the Lakers. Yet, Scott still waited patiently for the Lakers’ job. “This is a top organization in the league,” Boozer said on Friday. “They’re going to give us a good coach.”It appears more and more likely that person will be Scott. Health updateFormer Laker Michael Cooper had a procedure on Thursday to treat an early detection of tongue cancer and doctors expect a complete recovery, according to the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream. Cooper, who helped the Showtime Lakers to five NBA championships, took a leave of absence this week from his head-coaching position with the Dream. Cooper has also coached the Los Angeles Sparks and USC women’s basketball team. Make it officialThe Lakers officially signed forward Xavier Henry on Friday to a one-year deal worth around $1 million. Henry appeared in only 43 games because of left wrist and right knee injuries, but he averaged a career-high 10 points.“Xavier earned a spot on our team last season after being a training camp invitee, and we hope he continues the dedication to improving he has displayed for us thus far,” Kupchak said in a statement. “When healthy, Xavier provided our team with an offensive punch, and we expect he’ll strive to add to his skillset and become a well-rounded player.” There is a hope that Scott agrees to a deal with the Lakers soon, but it is unclear if that timetable will be finalized in a day, a few days or more. It also remains unclear what kind of contract the Lakers will offer, and what terms Scott will feel comfortable with in his fourth NBA head-coaching stint. Scott is also currently vacationing overseas, meaning any introductory press conference would not take place until next week at the earliest. The Lakers have taken their time since Mike D’Antoni resigned on April 30. After opting for an experienced head coach instead of an up-and-coming assistant, college coach or former player, the Lakers interviewed Scott, Mike Dunleavy, Kurt Rambis, Alvin Gentry and Lionel Hollins. A vast majority of the candidates took other jobs, including Rambis (New York Knicks assistant coach), Gentry (Golden State Warriors associate coach) and Hollins (Brookln Nets head coach). Dunleavy is still available, though he only had one interview with Kupchak. The Lakers also had discussions with veteran NBA coach George Karl, though a league source familiar with his thinking said he had reservations about coaching the Lakers through a potentially long rebuilding process. Kupchak has spent this week introducing a flurry of offseason acquisitions, including Ed Davis, Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer. But after praising each player and holding their jersey, Kupchak left each press conference without speaking to reporters. Yet, the Lakers held off on hiring a coach for a few reasons.