Bill Laimbeer Rumors

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Bill Laimbeer would take LeBron James over Michael Jordan

New York Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer joined The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday morning, and he didn’t mince words when the conversation inevitably drifted to the NBA’s inescapable binary question: Jordan or LeBron? “There’s no question I would take LeBron James,” Laimbeer said. “He can do more. Michael Jordan could score and make big shots and look spectacular at times with wild-flying dunks, but LeBron can get you 18 rebounds. LeBron can get you 15 assists if he chooses to, or he can score 50 if he wanted to. “So the triple threat he poses is just phenomenal, and then the size that he’s got — he just physically dominates. It’s impressive.”
When pressed about how many championships Jordan won, Laimbeer didn’t back down. “Yeah, but look at what LeBron has in the Finals right now,” Laimbeer said. “Could anybody else in the world have led this team of role players to the finals right now? I don’t think so. Jordan could not have led this team to the finals. “LeBron came into the league knowing how to play basketball and involve his teammates. Jordan had to learn that, and they had to assemble some great teammates around him in order for him to win.”
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A not-bitter-in-the-least Bill Laimbeer made an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show this morning and said that if he had his choice between the two in their primes, he’d take LeBron James over Michael Jordan. “There’s no question I would take LeBron James,” Laimbeer said. “He can do more. Michael Jordan could score and make big shots and look spectacular at times with wild flying dunks, but LeBron can get you 18 rebounds, get you 15 assists or score 50 if he wants to.
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Here’s something you don’t see every day: A head coach who didn’t have his contract renewed … but he’s rehired the next season. That’s what the WNBA’s New York Liberty did with former Detroit Pistons center Bill Laimbeer. The team announced on Friday that it was rehiring Laimbeer as coach this season. He coached in 2013 and 2014 and was the team’s general manager, though he won’t hold the latter title this year. “I am proud to be leading the New York Liberty behind the bench, and believe that great things are ahead of us,” Laimbeer said in a release. “I came to New York talking about building a championship culture — and remain committed to that goal as head coach. I am thrilled to get started on the upcoming season.” Laimbeer’s record as the Liberty head coach is 26-42.
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And though Dumars isn’t in charge now, Laimbeer says it’s pretty much WNBA or bust as far as his coaching career is concerned. “I’m hunting right now,” Laimbeer said. “I live in Florida full-time. In the winter-time, I’ll be down there fishing and playing golf. But I enjoy coaching, and I’ll probably try to get back in the WNBA down the road. “I think the NBA has passed me by. I’m 57. And it’d take a while to be a head coach and I’m not going to be a lifer assistant. If it doesn’t happen, I’m going to be retired and hang out.”
The Pistons move on with Stan Van Gundy as head coach and president of basketball operations, and Laimbeer is optimistic he will succeed in Detroit. “I think he’s going to be successful. He’s the coach and the head of the operations so the players can no longer go around the head coach as they have for the past 10-12 years in that franchise,” Laimbeer told Foster. “That in itself is a positive. He brings a new fresh air of competitiveness. There’s some rebuilding to do with the fan base, no question about that, but he’s a grinder and he’ll get through it.”
So despite Laimbeer’s success in the WNBA, where he currently serves as coach and general manager of the New York Liberty, Howe says don’t expect him to land any NBA head coaching job. “A lot of people around the league remember,” Howe said. “They don’t like him. As a player, they didn’t like some of the things he did. And he was kind of a rude guy to the media and other players. It took me two years to get to know him to even talk to me. That’s the kind of guy he was. “But he was a force.”
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One of ESPN Films’ most-anticipated 30 for 30 projects has an official airdate: The Bad Boys, which chronicles the dynastic Pistons teams of the late 1980s and early ’90s, will debut Thursday, April 17, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The film is a collaboration between ESPN Films and NBA Entertainment — they partnered on the brilliant “Once Brothers” and the terrific “The Announcement” — and Boys has the potential to be one of the better 30 for 30 efforts. (NBA Entertainment also produced the last year’s sensational “Dream Team” documentary for NBA TV.) More than 40 people were interviewed for the film, including the Pistons’ main principals (Isiah Thomas, Bill Lambier, Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars, Adrian Dantley. Vinnie Johnson, John Salley, Mark Aguirre etc. …) and rival Michael Jordan. Following the film, ESPN will air a one-hour discussion from 10-11 p.m. ET on the Bad Boys Pistons era. That show will be hosted by Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose, and ESPN NBA analyst Doug Collins will also appear along with several Pistons players from that era. I’ll have more on the “The Bad Boys” in a standalone piece on SI.com on Monday.
Members of the 1989 NBA champion “Bad Boys” Pistons are reuniting next month to celebrate the 25th anniversary year of the first title in franchise history. Team members will first gather at “Bad Boys Unite,” a charity event, at the Westin Book Cadillac hotel in Detroit on March 27. The team will also be honored at halftime of the Pistons-Heat game the following night. Attendees have not been confirmed, but players on the 1989 team include Isiah Thomas, current Pistons president Joe Dumars, Bill Laimbeer, John Salley, Mark Aguirre, Dennis Rodman, Vinnie Johnson, James Edwards, Rick Mahorn, John Long, Fennis Dembo and Micheal Williams.
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Drummond stands 6-foot-10 and weighs 270 pounds. Pacers center Roy Hibbert is 7-2 and 290. They fought for position and bumped and bruised one another in an old-school exchange that would have made Bill Laimbeer proud. It was a wonderful inside battle that reminded you of the 1970s and 1980s in the NBA, when giant gladiators fought for position in the paint. There were some jabs during the game, but Hibbert saved the biggest one for after. “To tell you the truth I was a fan of his until tonight,” Hibbert said Tuesday. “He is a real good prospect, but it seemed like he was running his mouth a little bit tonight. He has a tremendous future, but I was a fan of his. I thought he was supposed to have a breakout year this year. Best of luck to him. He can dunk the ball real well and he can block shots and he can rebound. He is going to have a bright future — but I was a fan of his.”
Before the 2010 NBA draft, many of the league’s top decision-makers flew to Minnesota to watch a few prospects work out for the Timberwolves, who had a high pick. As one NBA general manager explains it, the purpose of these sessions is usually twofold: “The team is trying to impress the players as much as the players are trying to impress the team. And everyone with half a brain in the NBA understands this.” Laimbeer was on the court that day, running the workout. He set up one drill, telling the players to outlet the ball to him with a crisp chest pass, then run the lane and finish on the other end. Pretty basic stuff. Once the drill started, though, the players occasionally forgot the whole “outlet the ball” part, and Laimbeer, as he is known to do, called them out in a sarcastic manner. The next time around, the players remembered to outlet the ball, but forgot about the chest pass. Laimbeer became visibly agitated by their inability to run the drill correctly. “By the end of the workout, we all thought there might be a fight on the court,” one GM remembers. “Why make yourself the center of attention like that? For some executives, that day is all they know about him. And everyone left that gym with the same impression, that Laimbeer doesn’t understand how the NBA works.”
The NBA coaching fraternity is a little bit like the Supreme Court: It’s really hard to get a spot on the bench, but even more difficult, practically impossible, to get kicked off. Once you’re in, you’re set for life. Although Rambis (now an assistant with the Lakers) was technically accountable for those two disastrous seasons in Minnesota, most NBA general managers I spoke with said he will likely, at some point, land another head job in the league, because he’s seen as a good guy who just didn’t have enough talent with the Timberwolves. When I mentioned Laimbeer, though, the reaction was visceral. He’s lazy. He’s a buffoon. He can’t relate to NBA players. He treats them like it’s college. Guys just won’t play for him.
His name has been mentioned, in some publications and blogs, as a possibility to be the next head coach of the Detroit Pistons. “It has not,” Laimbeer said. “I read every article in the world about basketball, and what people are saying is not being read out there, don’t even start that (stuff).” So he’s not interested in the job? “I didn’t say that,” Laimbeer answered. “I have a job right now. I will be interested in that job forever, but they are off in their own direction right now, so don’t even go down that road.”
No one ever doubted his talent for this. Check out how many Laimbeer videos there are on YouTube, and then count how many are tagged with “fight,” “flop,” “cheap shot” or “hard foul.” Spoiler alert: The answers are “3,700” and “more than half.” And a large number involve him getting punched in the face by a 1980s wing of the Hall of Fame: Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Robert Parish, et al. Oh, and Isiah Thomas, if we’re including practices. There should be some kind of medal for that. “The Bad Boys moniker will live forever,” Laimbeer said triumphantly. “You see they’re now doing a documentary on those Pistons teams? It was our identity, and we’re proud of it. But no, there’s no medal for getting punched. The real badge of honor is the championship.”
It was not our intention to play “Gotcha” with the greatest flopper the sport has ever known. We just wanted to gauge how far he’s come since his Detroit Pistons days, when he could incite a riot in a dozen ways, most of them involving melodrama — a flop, a shove, a covert elbow, a fake outrage. Chuck Daly, as he often did, put it best once: “Laimbeer,” the great coach said, “could drive people insane and then just walk away — he was like Gandhi.” “People disliked me because I never went away,” Laimbeer corrected. “I was always there, and people couldn’t stand it. I was an irritating person to play against, and I’d get under your skin.”
Former Detroit Pistons’ great Bill Laimbeer has returned to the head coaching ranks. It’s just not in the league he was hoping to do it in. Laimbeer, who helped the Pistons win back-to-back NBA championships in 1989-90, was named head coach and general manager of the WNBA’s New York Liberty Thursday. Laimbeer is no stranger to the WNBA. He coached the Detroit Shock from 2002-09 before leaving the club to become an assistant coach with the Minneosta Timberwolves.
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Kareem Abdul Jabbar will be the recipient of the Ford Freedom Award Scholar Thursday evening at the Charles H.Wright Museum of African American History. The scholar is a living individual who is recognized for demonstrating excellence on a national or international level in the field of the award recipient. Jabbar is the NBA all-time leading scorer but to Piston fans, he is best remembered for being the recipient of a phantom foul by Bill Laimbeer in game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals. Jabbar hit two free throws which enabled the Lakers to win the game, evening the series at 3-3 and keeping the Pistons from the championship. Jabbar sees it a little differently. “Check the tape; he made contact with my body. It was a good call.”
Larry Bird on his — and the Celtics’ — ongoing feud with the Detroit Pistons’ Bill Lambeer, on and off the court: “It’s because he was a dirty player. He had to do what he had to do, I understand that, but — like Ricky Mahorn, he’d hit you and all that… but he didn’t try to maim you. Bill tried to hurt you. He was one of them guys who, you’d shoot a jumper and he’d slide his foot under your ankle so you’d twist your ankle. That’s why Parish always went down. If you watch any of our old games, Parish was always twisting his ankle against the Pistons.”
After Love scored 25 points and grabbed 17 rebounds Sunday to lead the T-Wolves to a 99-82 triumph over the Dallas Mavericks, Odom compared Love to one of the former Detroit Pistons Bad Boys. “He’s almost like a new version of (Bill) Laimbeer to me,’’ Odom, the Mavs’ forward, said. “Almost Laimbeer-like. But a little bit more athletic.’’
With assistant GM Tony Ronzone gone, Kahn will reconfigure the front office: Adelman’s son R.J. will bring some of the statistical analytics the Rockets use in Houston and assume a front-office player personnel/game preparation role. A new advance scout — Brent Haskins followed Kevin McHale and J.B. Bickerstaff to Houston — will report to R.J. Last season’s assistant coaches Bill Laimbeer, Reggie Theus and Dave Wohl will be paid for their contract’s remaining year but won’t be reassigned new jobs.
Laimbeer, who battled Ewing for years as the Pistons’ fixture in the middle in their “Bad Boys” era, interviewed for the Detroit job last Wednesday. His chances of landing the position were initially described as remote given that the Pistons, according to NBA coaching sources, were said to be seeking a replacement for Kuester with head coaching experience.
Yet sources said that Gores is also taking a level of input from Checketts, who headed up New York’s management structure when the Knicks were built around Ewing. NBA.com reported Friday that the Pistons had expanded their coach search to include Ewing, who currently serves as an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic. It was not immediately known if the Pistons plan to add more candidates to their search, but Ewing has joined former NBA head coaches Mike Woodson and Lawrence Frank and current NBA assistants Kelvin Sampson (Milwaukee) and Bill Laimbeer (Minnesota) on Detroit’s list of potential replacements for John Kuester.
Patrick Ewing took a small step toward becoming a head coach by securing an interview, his first, with the Detroit Pistons. Lawrence Frank and Mike Woodson, both of whom have head coaching experience, are considered the front-runners for the position. Ewing is in a group along with Kelvin Sampson and former Pistons center Bill Laimbeer as candidates looking for their first NBA head coaching job. “Pat is more than ready to be a head coach,” the Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau said over the telephone Saturday. “I know people only think of Pat as a great player but he has the chance to become a great coach.”
The Pistons, who already have reached out to former Hawks coach Mike Woodson and received permission to interview Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson, Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank, and Timberwolves assistant Bill Laimbeer, will reach out to Mavs general manager Donnie Nelson in the coming days with a request to interview Casey.
Bill Laimbeer, who spent this year on Minnesota’s bench after leading the Detroit Shock to three WNBA titles, is expected to receive some consideration, as well. It’s no secret he’d love a head coaching job, but it isn’t known how likely it is the Pistons would be willing to take a chance on the former Bad Boy. Other names such as ESPN/ABC’s Mark Jackson, former Nets coach and now-Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank and former Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey have been thrown out by media outlets.