Sun’s Miller to coach East in place of Liberty’s Laimbeer

NEW YORK (AP) — Curt Miller has led the Connecticut Sun to the top of the Eastern Conference.

Now he’ll get a chance to coach the East in the All-Star Game on Saturday. Miller will replace New York’s Bill Laimbeer, who backed out for personal reasons.

“I wish Bill could do it,” Miller said. “We’re trying to honor Bill and his staff the best we can. We’re going to try and have fun and come back with no injuries. No one gives the East certainly the due and credit that we play good basketball.”

Laimbeer’s wife recently caught a virus while she was vacationing in Africa and was in the hospital for a few days. She’s doing better but, according to Laimbeer, isn’t back to 100 percent. With the Liberty on the road for nearly two weeks after the All-Star Game, Laimbeer wouldn’t have had a chance to spend time with her.

“I asked for relief from the game. My wife’s still struggling with it and I think it’s best to spend some time with her,” he told The Associated Press. “These four days spending time with my wife was the right thing to do and I’m glad the league agreed.”

Miller was planning to head back to Indiana to spend time with his family, but he is happy to be going to Seattle now.

“Anything I can do to help the league, it’s an honor to be asked,” Miller said. “Since we are currently in first place is the rational we’ve been given. I’m humbled by the opportunity.”

Connecticut has three players in the game. Miller joked that he would limit their playing time while giving the other Eastern Conference players a lot of time to tire them out for the second half of the season.

The league also announced that New York’s Sugar Rodgers would be in the injury replacement for Washington’s Elena Delle Donne. Rodgers also will compete in the 3-point shootout. Minnesota’s Rebekkah Brunson will be the West replacement for Brittney Griner, who has an injured knee and ankle.

Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve is coaching the West.

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