BILL LAIMBEER SERIOUS ABOUT WINNING WNBA CHAMPIONSHIP
By: Luis Vazquez
The WNBA LIberty brought Bill Laimbeer to New York for two reasons. The first was to bring legitimacy to the franchise. As a 2-time NBA champion as player and three time WNBA champ as coach, Bill certainty has the credentials.
A year before Phil Jackson was brought in to save the New York Knicks, Laimbeer already has been weighing the twin responsibilities as both GM and coach. This leads to reason number two, the WNBA Championship.
Laimbeer came to New York speaking a lot about his plans and methods to attain the WNBA Championship, but as the year wore on, the realization that more pieces were needed was apparent. On draft day, Bill went to work. He was able to trade with Connecticut for their star forward Tina Charles, who wanted out. "We were told if she wasn't traded she would sit out." explained Mitchell Etess, the CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority.
The price was their first round pick, Alyssa Thomas, their 2015 first round pick, and Kelsey Bone, their top pick last year. Charles is a former two time NCAA champion at the University of Connecticut, a Rookie of the Year and MVP in the WNBA. In only her fifth season, Charles brings elite talent to a team led by All-Star Cappie Pondexter, and a returning Essence Carson, providing a power presence and another source of scoring, something Bone did not do enough of.
"Tina is obviously one of the best players in the league." Laimbeer explained. "Our franchise felt we needed to add All-Star caliber players, especially with our return to Madison Square Garden."
Charles is a New York native who attended Christ the King High School, while living in Jamaica, Queens. Bill is not stopping there as he made another acquisition in securing second year guard, Sugar Rodgers, from the defending champion, Minnesota Lynx. The exchange of third round picks for next year's draft was the sole price to add depth to the guard spot. New York will be introducing Black Uniforms this year as they return to the Garden after four years at the Prudential Center during the renovation of the Garden.