Usually, it's the NFL that goes by the nickname the No Fun League, but on Friday night the NBA's collective bargaining agreement ruined what otherwise would have been a very very fun time.
When Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse and five assistants were ruled out of Friday night's game against the Houston Rockets due to the league's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, all eyes turned toward the 34-year-old Kyle Lowry. Could it be, fans hoped, that Lowry would be the first player-coach in Raptors history and the first one in the league in almost 50 years?
Unfortunately, it was not to be.
The league outlawed player-coaching to avoid cap circumvention in 1984, as Blake Murphy reported Saturday.
"I don't know if we have the budget to add that to his resume. I think there was probably some additional compensation," Raptors general manager Bobby Webster joked pre-game.
The truth is teams aren't allowed to pay players to do things outside of their contract and it would be against league rules to have Lowry coach without getting paid.
"If there's a cheque attached to it, I'm not mad at nobody, but I don't believe in doing other peoples' jobs for free," Fred VanVleet said Friday night.
Even if Lowry couldn't take over official head coaching duties, he and VanVleet had a good time post-game joking about it.
"Yeah, it’d be awesome, but at the same time, I probably wouldn't sub myself out," Lowry said. "I'd be a tough coach and I wouldn't want to coach somebody like me. So, yeah, no, I'll pass on that.”
At least he'd always agree with himself on play calls, right?
"No," he said. "I wouldn't agree with myself half the time anyway."
The problem with Lowry coaching, according to VanVleet, is that Lowry is a little too emotional. He's leading the team in technical fouls this season with five and his 14 technicals last season were twice as many as anyone else on the team. As a coach, things might get a little too out of hand.
Of course, Lowry disagrees. Any talk of who the better coach is between him and VanVleet comes down to experience and poise.
"Freddy is a little crazy. I'm gunna be honest with you, Freddy is a little crazy, he gets a little aggressive and angry," Lowry joked. "I'm older now and I think I can control it a little bit better, but yeah definitely, definitely me. But Freddy would be my first assistant though because we think alike."