By now you've probably heard the news -- Mike Payne was the first to bring it to DBB -- but Bill Laimbeer officially announced his resignation from the Detroit Shock in hopes of landing an NBA gig. Rick Mahorn, an assistant the last five years, will take over as head coach.
Perhaps you've seen the rumor that he's interested in the T'Wolves job (hat-tip: Need4Sheed) -- that could very well be true, but from the sounds of it, he's interested in anything, whether it's a head coaching gig or an assistant.
Check out FanHouse for my structured take on the situation -- or keep reading below for a full transcript of Laimbeer's comments from today's press conference.
DETROIT SHOCK HEAD COACH BILL LAIMBEER: "A long time ago, which was six-and-a-half years ago, Tom (Wilson) and I sat down and talked about the Detroit Shock and making a coaching change and if I would be interested in it. We spent a lot of time debating the plusses and minuses and I said I would do it. Everybody asks me if I thought I would have been here this long and I say ‘no, I didn’t’ but I wouldn’t take any of it back. It’s been a great experience. I’ve had a lot of fun. I want to thank Tom and Mr. Davidson and all their support staff from Palace Sports and Entertainment for being by my side, and the Detroit Shock’s side. All the way back to Kristen Bernert who came in with me - two new people trying to make a go of this thing.
I’ve also had the best staff that anybody could ask for in Cheryl Reeve, Rick Mahorn and Laura Ramus. It’s been a lot of fun. I have the best players, both on and off the court; we have a lot of fun, which is what sports is all about. If you don’t have fun you shouldn’t be in it. The fans have been very supportive – not just of the Shock but also of myself. That’s been a real good feel good thing myself.
I’ve learned a lot being a coach. A whole lot. Not only about myself but also about the profession. I’ve learned that I can survive in a high-intensity environment with very strong-willed people and to work with them to get the job done. I pat myself on the back a little bit for that. Going in you never know and its worked out pretty good and I’ve enjoyed it. People ask if I’m sick. No, I’m not sick.
Did I get another job? No, I didn’t get another job. It’s just that time for me to go and do something different. I am going to pursue, somewhere down the road, an opportunity if it comes to me in the NBA. That’s my goal. That’s my passion. Hopefully sometime I’ll be able to get an opportunity. The best way to describe how I feel is when I talk to the media, whether it be ESPN or any other radio shows when I travel with the Shock, the question always comes to me at least once a week. Do you see yourself in the NBA? My answer has always been diplomatic. I’m having fun doing what I’m doing now but if it comes one day, great. The best way to say it now is yeah; I do want to go to the NBA. Assistant coach, head coach – that’s my passion, that’s my goal. When someone asks me the question I want to say yes. If the answer is yes how can I focus on being the head coach of the Detroit Shock when all my concentration and focus is elsewhere? I’ll be doing them a disservice; I’ll be doing myself a disservice and the organization. That’s not who I am. It never has been who I am. I’m always 100% all-in with two feet, emotionally and physically and if I’m not able to do that then I’m not going to just get a paycheck. I’m going to go home.
It was a good conversation I had with them a few moments ago. People will ask why now? I will tell them that I made a mistake starting the season. There’s a lot of changes going on in the men’s league and a lot of changes going on in our organization with Mr. Davidson and Chuck (Daly) being gone now. I thought I could do it and I realized after I started no. I feel bad about that. If I get hit by a truck – that’s our code word for going away. If I get hit by a truck - every decision has been made over the last six months concerning our basketball team has been openly talked about. At some point I thought it was going to be their show. This is not a surprise to them. They’re very capable moving forward and I wish them all the best."
(On the viability of the league) "This league is strong. The players are bigger, faster, stronger than ever before. This has nothing to do with the economic times at all. This has everything to do with me as a person looking at what my passion now is and where it’s headed. I believe that there is no way this league is going away. It’s too entrenched and the players are too good. They work diligently all the time to maintain the viability of the league both on and off the court. The owners are committed. The league is committed. Every sport is under duress right now with the economic times. I’ve said before it will survive and it will be stronger."
(On talking the Joe Dumars or the ownership about moving to the Pistons) "I haven’t talked to the ownership. As far as talking to Joe Dumars yeah I’ve talked to Joe Dumars but it’s more about opportunities elsewhere in the league. Whether it was feeling out what he thought I may have to do to get an opportunity someplace. Also is it my time? We’ve chatted a little bit about that too. He has staff in place and I’m looking for opportunities elsewhere."
(On if he has interviewed for a position) "I haven’t interviewed with anybody. I’m doing what I’m doing. I’m in a situation if I’m doing what I’m doing I’m not committing myself to pursuing an NBA job. I’m not doing both. It’s unfair. I’ve went ahead to divest myself of one to pursue another. So now I’m divesting of the WNBA I’m going full speed on looking for opportunities in the NBA. I did that with Isiah many years ago and it was a tremendous distraction to our basketball team. I would never do that again. I have not to answer your question."
(On being prepared for the grind of the NBA) "I made it clear that this is a full-time job. The WNBA is a shorter season. There’s not as much of an off-season demand as in the men’s side even. It’s a traveling, grueling, pressured nightmare. Nightmare is the wrong way to say it. It’s a very intense environment. I’m not tired of coaching; I’m not burned out. It’s the opposite. I’m prepared to move on with what I’ve learned of how I do and work with our players to see if I can be successful at a different level. That’s what this is all about. It’s my time to see who I am and what I can do; can I be successful doing it?
"Thank you all for your support."