Skip Bayless on Undisputed Photo credit: FS1

LeBron James might have a problem with Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham. Skip Bayless thinks he has the solution.

Despite leading the Lakers to the Western Conference Finals last season and winning the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament this year, Ham finds himself on the hot seat. After the Lakers dropped to 17-18 with a loss to the Miami Heat Wednesday night, LeBron ditched his postgame press conference, fueling speculation of a growing disconnect between Ham and the locker room.

Throughout his NBA career, LeBron has garnered the reputation of being a coach killer and Ham might be next on the list. But if there’s no one good enough to coach LeBron, Bayless wonders why LeBron doesn’t just coach himself.

“Once upon a time in this league, there were these things called player-coaches,” Bayless said. “Bill Russell, Mr. Russell, he coached championship teams while he played for championship teams. The great Lenny Wilkens coached and ran the point for some very good basketball teams. If anybody in the history of this league could do this, LeBron James could coach this team and run the point for this team. He’s got the highest IQ in basketball.”

That’s all very nice of Bayless, who seemed uncharacteristically complimentary of LeBron Friday morning on Undisputed. But if it gives more reason to talk about LeBron James, then Skip Bayless is here for it. And LeBron being player-coach of the Lakers would certainly give Bayless plenty of reason to craft even more show segments around King James.

One problem, however. If anybody in the history of the league can be a player-coach, it’s not anyone in today’s NBA, because there are rules against it. The collective bargaining agreement does not allow the Lakers to hire LeBron as a player-coach. Because a coach’s salary doesn’t count against the cap, the rules are designed to prevent teams from giving a player a coaching title and an uncapped form of revenue.

In 2004, the Dallas Mavericks were reportedly interested in using then-assistant coach Avery Johnson as an emergency backup player but were barred from doing so. Johnson subsequently retired and joined head coach Don Nelson on the bench.

LeBron holds a little more clout than Avery Johnson. Maybe Bayless meant, ‘If anybody in the history of the league could change the CBA to allow for player-coaches, it’s LeBron.’ But believing a change like that could be made in-season is farfetched.


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to