The Lakers are in need of a head coach -- why not Kobe Bryant as player-coach?
Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak rencently said the team's next head coach will need to know how to get the most out of Bryant.
"We have a player on our team right now who's proven in this league offensively, who can score. That certainly is a consideration," Kupchak said. "We have to make sure that whoever we hire as a coach can really get the most productivity out of him, whether it's scoring the ball or playmaking or the threat that he may score. That's probably of primary importance right now."
Who better to utilize Bryant than Bryant himself?
Some might say the 18-year veteran has been coaching the team already, at least since Phil Jackson retired.
Bill Russell, who won back-to-back titles (1967-69) with the Boston Celtics as a player-coach, one of five Hall of Fame players who have simultaneously coached their teams (Lenny Wilkens, Dave DeBusschere, Bob Cousy and Dave Cowens).
It's been done before, but Bryant will not get that opportunity.
Under NBA rules, dictated by the league's collective bargaining agreement with the NBA Players Union, an active player can no longer serve as a team's head coach.
The NBA has strict circumvention rules, put in place to ensure that teams don't pay players more than their agreed upon salary.
Bryant will make $23.5 million next season. The Lakers cannot additionally compensate him as player-coach.
Though Bryant has a major influence on how his team plays on the floor, the job of coaching is a heavy workload -- more so than when legends such as Russell and Wilkens did double duty.
Bryant has enough to prove as it is, recovering from a lost season -- sidelined for all but six games with Achilles and knee injuries.
The Lakers are currently interviewing candidates to replace Mike D'Antoni. So far Byron Scott, Lionel Hollins, Alvin Gentry, Mike Dunleavy and Kurt Rambis have received consideration.
The team is expected to add to that list before making a decision, but Bryant can't and won't be considered.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times