Sources: Scott talks to Cavs

Byron Scott has emerged as a strong candidate to become the Cleveland Cavaliers coach, according to an Eastern Conference executive with knowledge of the club's thinking.

Scott is on equal footing with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, according to the source.

Scott, who has coached the New Jersey Nets and the New Orleans Hornets, has spoken with members of the Cavaliers' front office for the past few days and late Wednesday night, the talks took on a more serious nature. Scott is expected to have a formal interview with the team before the end of this weekend.

It was reported on Monday the Cavaliers had offered the job to Izzo, but league sources said the only parameters of a potential contract were discussed. While Izzo remains a leading candidate for the job, the talks aren't as far along as previously reported, according to two Eastern Conference executives.

The Cavaliers are impressed with Scott's pedigree as a coach and a player. As the backcourt mate of Magic Johnson, Scott won three championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. In his first head coaching job, he led the Nets to two NBA Finals appearances in four seasons, and he led a young Hornets team on a surprising run to the Western Conference semifinals in 2008.

Scott's experience coaching superstars, namely Jason Kidd in New Jersey and Chris Paul in New Orleans, is another selling point with Cleveland, which is hoping its coaching hire will help to keep LeBron James with the franchise. The Cavaliers view Scott, the league's coach of the year in 2008, as similar to Boston's Doc Rivers.

While Scott would like assurances James will remain with the Cavaliers, that is not believed to be a deal breaker.

Chris Broussard covers the NBA for ESPN The Magazine.