Monday, February 2, 2009

Q-and-A with Bill Laimbeer

Bill Laimbeer was in good spirits last week upon returning from his off-season sabbatical to sunny Florida. I caught up with the Shock head coach and general manager while he was meeting with prospective Shock season-ticket holders at The Palace.

Ryan Pretzer: You said after Game 3 of the finals you wanted to take a little time off, go to Florida for some hunting and fishing. Did you accomplish that?

Bill Laimbeer: Yeah, I did. I had a lot of fun. Had a good rest, good break. Now it’s back to work somewhat.

RP: How long did you stay down there?

BL: I was in Florida for about six weeks, caught some fish and played some golf. It was relaxing.

RP: You said you wanted to take that time to decide what you wanted to do [as far as returning to the Shock]. How did that decision process work itself out?

BL: It was just one of those things where I talked to a couple of people, talked to a couple of players. We enjoy winning championships and we think we can do it again. So we’ll take another whack at it.

RP: With the two-year contract, was it just to not have to go through the process again next year?

BL: Yeah, pretty much.

[The Shock re-signed their only restricted free agent, center Kara Braxton, which means they have their top six scorers from last year returning in 2009.]

RP: With everybody you’ve got locked in now on paper, you’ve got a championship team pretty much coming back intact. How does free agency play out with that?

BL: We’re not going to land a big, splashy free agent. We don’t have the money, and we like what we have. We might fiddle around on the peripheral, but no, we like what we have.

RP: You’re not restless then to make a move? You’re content with what you have?

BL: Yeah, we like what we have. We’re not going to do many big changes.

[The Shock begin their season with two games against the Sparks, at Los Angeles June 6 and then at The Palace June 8. The early season engagement in L.A. means a shorter West Coast trip. They have three back-to-backs.]

RP: What were your thoughts when you saw the schedule for this season?

BL: The back-to-back LA’s is kind of different. A bit unusual but it is what it is. Other than that, it’s a pretty decent schedule, not too many back-to-backs, so that’s good, and not too many really long trips.

RP: Did you hear why the WNBA decided to do the LA games so close together?

BL: No, I didn’t ask.

RP: It looks like Candace Parker will miss both games as she's expected to deliver her first child in May. Are you disappointed you guys aren’t going to get a chance to play against her?

BL: No, not at all. We’ll take any advantage we can get.

RP: Do you like starting the season in June rather than May?

BL: Yeah, I think starting a couple of weeks later is a positive to get the players from overseas into camp early. You have an opportunity to get your whole team into camp instead of everybody filtering in. So it means a good training camp to work with.

RP: What are your views on how Shock players are faring overseas?

BL: I think they’re doing okay. They may play in different roles but the main thing is everybody stays healthy.

RP: Speaking of which, on the injury front …

BL: Plenette first, she had the shoulder and she’s overseas playing again and she’s fine. Cheryl’s making great progress, is a little bit ahead of schedule and definitely very enthusiastic. And that’s not just her, but also our training staff.