It took forever, but the Lakers finally have their new coach: Byron Scott.

Scott agreed to a four-year, $17 million contract late Saturday, reported, following a lengthy courtship. The deal includes a team option for the fourth season.

Scott, 53, will replace Mike D'Antoni, who resigned after

last season.

LA is turning to a piece of its championship past in hopes of returning to NBA glory. Scott played on the Lakers' Showtime squads of the 1980s.

Scott has the approval of Kobe Bryant, the aging Lakers star who appears to have a say in the team's decision. Scott and Bryant were teammates in 1996-97. It was Scott's final season as a player and Bryant's first.

"We've had a tremendously close relationship throughout the years," Bryant said earlier this month. "So obviously I know him extremely well, he knows me extremely well and I've always been a fan of his."

Having interviewed three times for the job, Scott was long seen as an obvious choice to replace D'Antoni. 

Which raises the question: Why did this take so long?

While it would have made sense to hire a coach and get players to fit his system, NBC Sports suggests the front office put players ahead of the coach. It chased LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, losing both of them, and then brought in Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer.

Scott has a strong background with the Lakers, including time spent last season as a TV analyst. And, according to various reports, his focus on defense is especially appealing to a team that was a sieve last season while going 27-55.

Scott's record as a coach with the Cavaliers, Nets and Pelicans franchise is good, especially in taking the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals. But the Lakers also considered more successful coaches.

The Cavaliers experience is a mixed bag. They were terrible in the era after James left for the Heat, and Scott's teams were among the worst in defensive efficiency for three consecutive seasons.

Contributing: Ray Slover