Source: Bill Laimbeer to be Stars' coach, GM after team is sold, relocated

Bill Laimbeer will be the new coach and general manager of the San Antonio Stars after the team is sold and relocated, a source confirmed to ESPN's Mechelle Voepel on Friday.

Laimbeer, who had been the head coach for the New York Liberty the previous five seasons, will be replaced by assistant coach Katie Smith, the source said.

The Associated Press first reported news of Laimbeer's hiring.

The Stars announced Thursday on social media that the team was in negotiations to be bought and moved.

Current ownership has an agreement in place with a buyer who plans to move the team to Las Vegas, a source told ESPN's Michael Wright on Thursday night. The sale and relocation now hinge on final approval from the NBA and WNBA board of governors, the source said. The sides expect the deal, which has been in the works for some time, to be OK'd because the team will be moved to Las Vegas, according to the source.

Neither the team nor the WNBA has disclosed information about the buyer.

"Negotiations with a potential buyer of the Stars team are ongoing," WNBA spokesperson Dina Skokos said in a statement Thursday. "Once those discussions are concluded, we will provide additional information."

Laimbeer coached the New York Liberty from 2013 through the recently concluded season. The 60-year-old former NBA player guided the team to the best record in the Eastern Conference in each of 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 the team's 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. The Stars have a young nucleus led by Kayla McBride, Moriah Jefferson and Kelsey Plum.

The team also has the best chance to get the No. 1 pick in next year's WNBA draft.

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 in October as the city's first franchise in a North American pro sport. In March, the NFL formally approved the Oakland Raiders' relocation to Las Vegas for the 2020 season to occupy a proposed new stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.