NEW YORK (AP) — Bill Laimbeer will be the coach and general manager of the San Antonio Stars when the team is sold and relocated, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday night because there’s no official announcement of the hiring.
Laimbeer coached the New York Liberty the last five seasons. The 60-year-old former NBA player guided the team to the best record in the Eastern Conference the past three years. The Liberty lost in the second round of the playoffs the past two seasons in a single-elimination game each time.
He led the Detroit Shock to three titles as general manager and coach from 2002 to 2009.
Laimbeer inherits a young team that has finished with the league’s worst record each of the past three seasons. They have a young nucleus led by Kayla McBride, Moriah Jefferson and Kelsey Plum. The team also has the top chance to get the No. 1 pick in next year’s WNBA draft.
The Stars announced Thursday on social media that the team was in negotiations to be bought and moved. The buyer is based in Las Vegas, another person with knowledge of the sale told the AP on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the team nor the WNBA have disclosed information about the buyer.
“Negotiations with a potential buyer of the Stars team are ongoing,” WNBA spokeswoman Dina Skokos said in a statement on Thursday. “Once those discussions are concluded, we will provide additional information.”
The franchise moved to San Antonio from Utah in 2003. Led by Becky Hammon, the Stars reached the WNBA Finals in 2008.
Las Vegas has hosted the world’s biggest boxing and mixed martial arts events for several decades, but the growing desert gambling mecca has become a coveted target for professional team sports over the past few years.
The expansion Vegas Golden Knights began their first NHL season this month as the city’s first franchise in a major North American pro league. In March the NFL formally approved the Oakland Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas by the 2020 season to occupy a proposed new stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.