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Former Las Vegas Aces coach Bill Laimbeer says coaching career is over but won’t rule out a future in basketball


Although Bill Laimbeer won’t completely rule out a role in basketball in the future, the former Las Vegas Aces The coach said Saturday that he is certain of one thing.

“I’ll never coach again,” Laimbeer said on a video call with media from Las Vegas before the Aces hosted Phoenix. “I just don’t have that kind of will. I don’t have that will. It’s an all-consuming thing.

“Whether I’ll be involved in basketball later, I don’t know. It’s too early to say. I only have six months of leave. I’ve never spent a summer on my ranch in Michigan. Because So, I’m looking forward to it. What is the future, I don’t really have a firm grip at the moment. I’m having fun. I’m comfortable.”

Laimbeer, who celebrated his 65th birthday on Thursday, played in the NBA from 1980-81 to 1993-94, spending all but his first two seasons with the Detroit Pistons. In 2002, he took over as head coach of WNBA’s Detroit Shock during the season, and led the team to its first of three WNBA championships in 2003; Shock also won championships in 2006 and 2008.

He stayed with Shock until leaving early in the 2009 season and taking a job as an assistant to the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves. He returned to the WNBA as head coach with New York Liberty from 2012 to 2017.

When the San Antonio franchise moved to Las Vegas starting with the 2018 season, Laimbeer took over the team – newly named the Aces – as coach and led them for the past four seasons. That includes a trip to the 2020 WNBA Finals.

The Aces had the second-best record at the WNBA last season but lost to Phoenix in the semifinals. Laimbeer said he was then ready to leave the coaching job but thinks he will need to return in 2022.

“It was an easy decision, but very difficult to make,” Laimbeer said. “Last year, for myself – and I think some players – it was clear that I was running out of energy. I had just finished my course in the coaching ranks.”

However, he did tell the Aces players in his exit interview after last season that he would return. But he encouraged new president Nikki Fargas to look for a replacement. And when former WNBA player Becky Hammon was mentioned, Laimbeer was filled with hope.

“I told [Fargas], “Our brand is very popular and we’re still in its infancy … find someone with a high basketball reputation,” Laimbeer said. “She named Becky and I said, ‘Sure, that’s a great thing for this franchise and it will give me the opportunity to march into another land and not have to worry about the basketball team. this again. ‘ I didn’t think it was going to happen, but it did. “

Laimbeer said he was happy to be able to get out the way he did.

“Most of the time when coaches leave, they get fired because they were too bad or because they left a bad team,” he said. “I was lucky to get through [torch] for a growing quality young coach with a very good basketball team. So she was set for instant success. “

The Aces are currently WNBA-best 6-1 after a 100-80 win over Phoenix, as Hammon – who spent eight years as an assistant to the San Antonio Spurs – got off to a strong start.

“I’m just sitting here right now watching the good things happen with this franchise,” Laimbeer said. “I like the way they play.”

Laimbeer worked as general manager with the coach while he was in Detroit and New York. When asked what he’s most proud of during his time at the WNBA, Laimbeer said the rule change has had an impact on style of play, freedom and the rules. He also credits Las Vegas with helping elevate the WNBA All-Star Game by hosting it in 2019 and 2021.

“Nothing changes dramatically in one fall,” says Laimbeer. “It’s talking to the federation all the time and motivating them. Just being part of the team has [this league] to this day. “



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