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If He's Wanted, Scott Will Return

PRO BASKETBALL DAILY REPORT : LAKERS

February 28, 1997|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

Byron Scott all but said he will return in 1997-98 for a 15th NBA season, but with a disclaimer.

Either he'll play as a Laker or he won't play at all.

"I want to retire here," Scott said Thursday of Los Angeles, his home while growing up and for 11 of his 14 years as a professional. "So if they say they don't want me next season as a player, or if it's 'We want you to come work with us in the front office,' so be it."

He has yet to have any discussions with management regarding his future. He hasn't really had them with anybody, so Scott cannot say definitively he will play again, a final decision that won't come until he has a chance to step back, rest and reflect in the off-season. He can say, however, that it would take a drastic change of heart from how he's feeling now to retire.

"I don't think it'll change," said Scott, a month shy of his 36th birthday.

Not about playing again, or about playing again only for the Lakers.

"Pretty much," he said. "That's pretty much how I feel. I started my career here and I've got the opportunity to end it here."

Scott's comments come as he has reassumed the role as backup shooting guard, a job he took from Kobe Bryant by going 59.4% from the field, including 50% on three-pointers, the last seven games.

*

Coach Del Harris met Thursday afternoon with Bill Pollack, the Washington-based agent for free agent-to-be George McCloud, but it was more of a lunch between friends than a business meeting. Harris, however, did make it clear that he would like McCloud, acquired last week from the Nets, to remain a Laker.

"We didn't give away a first and a second for a couple months," Harris said later. "We believe in the guy."

Which works out well since McCloud, despite having been part of the organization for just eight days, has already decided he would like to stay.

"Any time you're in a situation like this, when you have the chance to be very successful for a long time, as a player you want to be part of that," he said.

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