This week, Villanova assistant coach Billy Lange reportedly turned down the opportunity to take over as head coach of the NBADL defending champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The college coach may still make his way over to the pro game, however, as he mulls a rumored offer to join the 76ers as an assistant instead.
Many D-League head coaches move on to assistant coaching positions in the NBA. For guys like Lange and a handful of said minor league employees, there's often more money in becoming an NBA assistant than a D-League head coach.
Coaches and front office members alike sometimes find that there is little money to be had in the NBADL. Thus, like many of the league's players, the employees realize that the D-League is a place to stay while further honing your skills, before finally moving on to cash in on such progress.
Still, the NBADL is, nevertheless, sometimes regarded as a place of second opportunities as well. Many past and/or otherwise washed up NBA veterans venture to the minor league to prove they're still worthy of competing at the pro level yet again.
Could the D-League also provide a similar opportunities for coaches too?
Any specific coaching hierarchy (with regard to being an NBA, D-League, and/or NCAA head/assistant coach) is debatable among those willing to discuss it. The money may not be there in the NBADL, but the opportunity for valuable experience and perhaps the chance to prove oneself as a capable captain of a ship (in the form of a head coach) certainly are present.
With that in mind, should Bill Laimbeer consider a coaching stint in the D-League, should he eventually desire a return to the NBA?
This fantastic piece at espnW not only examines the three-time WNBA champion's journey as a women's' basketball coach, but also exactly what's held Laimbeer back from a chance at similar success in the NBA.
Regarded by some as "lazy" and often criticized for not being able to motivate the players and get them on his side, Laimbeer's last foray into The Association was an unsuccessful (assistant) coaching stint with the Timberwolves from 2009-11.
Having proven to be successful on the WNBA level, Laimbeer appears somewhat content as head coach and General Manager of the New York Liberty for the moment.
Should he desire another chance to redeem himself at the mens' level, Laimbeer's best shot may be doing so in the D-League. Not one to worry much about status at this point, the NBADL could serve as the former Pistons' big man's chance to prove he can get pro players to buy into his vision en route to accomplishing something special.
There may be more money tied to assistant coaching positions in the NBA, but such an opportunity wouldn't provide Laimbeer quite the same platform to show off his leadership skills just as well.