Nancy Lieberman Rumors

Women have coached men’s teams before, such as Charlotte Bobcats sideline reporter Stephanie Ready, who was an assistant coach for a NBADL team in the early 2000s while Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman coached the NBADL’s Texas Legends in 2009. But Nakase is going after the big carrot, one of 30 NBA jobs, fully understanding she will have to overcome several stereotypes and barriers in her quest. She worked as video coordinator for the Clippers the past three years and two current NBA coaches — Indiana’s Frank Vogel and Miami’s Erik Spoelstra — began their careers as video coordinators. So there is a blueprint for her success. But she has to be taken seriously as a coach, and the experience last week in Las Vegas added to her legitimacy. Nakase has her mind focused on one goal, and she knows that skipping steps is not an option. “It was great to get back into it,” Nakase said this week. “Coaching is my comfort zone. So it’s almost like home for me to get back out there and coach. But it wouldn’t have happened if all the other [Clippers] coaches on our staff weren’t supportive. They were basically like mentoring me.”
Lieberman is now the assistant general manager for the NBA Development League’s Texas Legends. She also serves as a pregame and postgame TV analyst for the Oklahoma City Thunder, working out of a studio in Dallas. “My goal in the next year or two is to be coaching in the NBA,” she said. “I’m sure there’s a lot of people that go, ‘That’s not going to happen.’ “I don’t want to coach in the NBA because I’m a girl. I want to coach in the NBA because I’m qualified.” Lieberman is a frequent visitor to the commonwealth, either to return to her alma mater or to see her son at the University of Richmond. T.J. Cline is redshirting with the Spiders this season after transferring from Niagara.
Cuban reiterated his interest in Griner on Wednesday. “We evaluate every draft eligible player on the planet,” Cuban told USA TODAY Sports in an email when asked to respond to Auriemma’s comments. “The chance of any college graduate selected at the end of the draft making a roster is very, very small. We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t consider everyone. “As I told the media (Tuesday), she would have to excel in workouts to get drafted. I have no problem giving her that opportunity. I hope she gives it a shot. “Nothing harms an organization or company more than a closed mind.”
Then there was UConn coach Geno Auriemma who said Cuban shouldn’t waste his draft pick on June 27. “I think it would be a sham,” Auriemma said Wednesday. “The fact that a woman could actually play right now in the NBA and compete successfully against the level of play that they have is absolutely ludicrous.” “If Brittney Griner tries to make it to an NBA team, I think it would be a public relations thing,” Auriemma said on a Final Four teleconference with reporters. Cuban is a financial genius, Auriemma said, but “his genius would take a huge hit if he drafted Brittney Griner.”
After Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he would consider drafting Baylor’s Brittney Griner, the age-old debate took off. Can the girls compete with the boys? Nancy Lieberman has a better perspective than most. “There’s not a man who would sell his soul and let her come down and dunk on him. They are going to knock her on her ass,” Lieberman, the first woman to play in a men’s professional league, said Wednesday. Since the 6-8 Griner plays the post, there is no way that she can physically compete with NBA players, Lieberman, one of the game’s all-time greats, said.
The NBA D-League’s Texas Legends will introduce 1995 NBA Coach of the Year Del Harris as their new coach Tuesday, according to team sources. Harris, 74, worked as the Legends’ general manager in their inaugural season while also serving as a sounding board to former Legends coach Nancy Lieberman, who became the first-ever female to coach a men’s team under the NBA’s umbrella in 2010-11. Citing family reasons, Lieberman surrendered her coaching duties in July, opting to become the Legends’ assistant general manager so she could avoid heavy traveling during her son T.J.’s senior year of high school.
It’s not quite a done deal yet, but it sure sounds like it could be soon. Donnie Nelson and the Texas Legends rolled out the red carpet for former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl on Thursday, with a pitch for Pearl to become the NBA Development League team’s next head coach. The duo addressed the media at the American Airlines Center and Legends owner Nelson said the team put together “the most aggressive package in D-League history” in an effort to put Pearl at the Legends’ helm, a spot left vacant after Nancy Lieberman made a move to the team’s front office earlier this month. “He is our A-Man and we are hoping to make something happen,” Nelson said. “We have had basketball dialogue all day long. Based on our lunch this afternoon, my wallet is not near as big as Mark [Cuban] but it is wide open.”
D-League sources told that Lieberman will be formally named assistant general manager as early as Monday to work alongside Legends president of basketball operations Spud Webb and general manager Del Harris. Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson heads the management team as Legends co-owner. Sources said Lieberman will also have a strong voice in the Legends’ search for a successor, which will begin immediately because the D-League will continue to operate starting in October even if the NBA lockout has not been lifted. “It was a magnificent year,” Lieberman said. “I made a lot of new friends for life. I’m in airports and people come up wanting to the talk about the D-League. I was poolside the other day in Hawaii (on vacation) and I run into (comedian) Tracy Morgan. And Tracy Morgan is talking about the Legends.
After a groundbreaking season coaching NBA hopefuls, Nancy Lieberman is moving to the Texas Legends’ front office. The women’s basketball pioneer told that she will be switching to the personnel side of the D-League team’s operations starting next season, after taking the expansion Legends to the playoffs as the first female to coach a men’s team under the NBA’s umbrella. Lieberman said Sunday night that she debated the switch for weeks after the Legends’ season ended in April, ultimately deciding that her long-held goal of “making it normal” for a woman to coach men at the game’s highest level would have to be temporarily placed on hold for family reasons. “I have one son and he has one senior year,” Lieberman said, referring to son T.J. Cline, who plays basketball at Plano West. “It’s not to say I’ll never coach again, because T.J. goes to college in a year, but I felt like this was the right thing to do right now. I don’t want to have any regrets as a mom. I want him to look up and see me in the stands.”
Rookie guard Dominique Jones will be one of the featured attractions for the D-League Texas Legends’ first home game in Frisco. The Mavs will send their first-round pick down to the D-League for at least the rest of the week, allowing Jones to play in the Legends’ next three games. “It’s a chance to play,” coach Rick Carlisle said. It’s a chance to work on his game. I’m sure [Legends coach Nancy Lieberman] will kick his ass, which is great. It’s an opportunity. Not many teams have a D-League team this close in proximity, so it’s an opportunity for us and for him.”
If it weren’t Nancy Lieberman, this wouldn’t look so natural. A slender 5-8 woman is crouching on a hardwood court gazed upon by a dozen breathing, sweating, balling, human-equivalents of the Sears Tower who also happen to be male, and she’s the one offering rebounding instruction. “This little box-out here, that’s rec league,” she says. “Send a message.” She speaks with what you might call an outside voice. Not with a yell, but with enough oomph to emphasize a point to her Texas Legends basketball team.
Lieberman isn’t too worried about any adjustments players must make to being coached by a woman. “When I did the “Today”’ show in May, Amy (Robach), one of the hosts said to me, ‘How are these guys going to take information from a woman?”’ Lieberman said. “My response was, ‘It’s going to be normal. We’ve been telling you guys what to do our whole lives.’ Woman have telling you what to do. Your mother. Your grandma. Your wife. Your ex-wife. Your girlfriend. You’ve been communicated to by woman your whole life. What’s the difference?” Well, one difference is Lieberman will have a won-loss record by her name. She’s aware she will be judged by on that mark and there will be some who might equate losses to the fact she’s a woman. But that’s no big deal. Lieberman figures to take care of that by winning. “We will win,” she said. “We will win because every one of those 10 young men (on the Legends) that comes here will have career years. We will make them better individually.”
Nancy Lieberman is big news these days. Just ask President Obama. Lieberman, the Hall of Famer whom Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry calls the “Michael Jordan of women’s basketball,” was named last November as the first woman to coach in the NBA D-League. Last May, the Texas Legends boss was made to feel rather legendary when she visited the White House in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month. “I was invited and I went there and all he wanted to do (was talk basketball),” Lieberman said of Obama. “It’s weird. I felt this pull. He was shaking hands with all these people, in Congress, Senate, and then he looks at me and says, ‘Nancy Lieberman.’ I go, ‘Hi Mr. President.’ And he grabs my hand and he kind of pulls me. And I go out and we take a picture. And he’s like, ‘You’ve got to come play ball (on the White House court).”’
Former WNBA coach/superstar Nancy Lieberman, who last November was named coach of the D-League’s Texas Legends franchise, has been in town for 10 days scouting players in the NBA Summer League. She stuck around until the very end, even endured the Kings 85-54 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the finale. “I’ve learned so much,” said Lieberman, who will be the first woman to coach in the D-League. “Everything is so different in the mens game at this level, from the way the game is called, to the rules. I’m looking forward to the season.” As is the case with the men who coach the WNBA, it will be interesting to watch the feisty, dynamic Lieberman transition to coaching men.