Swin Cash and Laimbeer Finally Split in Detroit

Swin Cash and Bill Laimbeer were both instrumental to the Detroit Shock’s championships in 2003 and 2006, but that doesn’t mean they got along.

The star player and head coach had a well-known contentious relationship, and it reached a boiling point following the 2007 season.

On Feb. 19, 2008, the Seattle Storm announced the acquisition of Cash, sending the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft to Detroit in return a season after the two-time WNBA All-Star averaged 11.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.


“Cash’s relationship with Laimbeer became increasingly strained during last year’s postseason. Cash was benched several times during Detroit’s playoff run, including the final moments of Game 4 of the finals, when the Shock had a chance to eliminate Phoenix.

After Detroit’s season-ending loss in Game 5, Cash fought back tears while saying she did not expect to return to the Shock for the 2008 season.” – Associated Press

“The organization needs to make a decision on Swin Cash. If Laimbeer is right and she’s lost all heart then get rid of her. Dynasties can’t be about yesterdays and Cash’s idol status will only get in the way of developing the team’s future. If Cash DOES still have the desire to play in the WNBA then someone needs to tell Laimbeer to back off immediately. Riding her into the ground and constantly questioning her effort has NOT produced a return to All Star form. Neither has slashing her minutes to half a game. By continuing to start her but only giving her backup minutes, Lamibeer has created both a massive distraction for his team and a seemingly irreconcilable rift between player and coach.” – PistonsGirl4Life, Detroit Bad Boys

“Cash was in her second season in the league and (Cheryl) Ford was a rookie when the Shock won their first title, in 2003.

Last year, Ford blossomed enough to get an invitation to join the U.S. national team at the World Championships. She went to the event in Brazil soon after the Shock won the WNBA title. And Cash survived an obviously tumultuous relationship with Laimbeer as she helped Detroit secure its second trophy.

Cash is a team captain, owns a home in Detroit and has strong ties to the community here, but the word is that ‘Trader Bill’ has tried hard to deal Cash. Her salary is a big part of what made it difficult to do so, and Cash came back with the Shock for another title run.

She and Laimbeer are really no closer to seeing eye to eye, though. Laimbeer thinks Cash does not produce as consistently as she should. Cash thinks Laimbeer doesn’t respect her. She talked about that earlier in the Finals.” – Mechelle Voepel, espnW.com

“The one struggle with Bill and I is that he sees how usually I’m really physical or how I attack. And if I’m not that quick to do that, I know that frustrates him. But at the same time, you know, you have to imagine what’s going on inside of me, the frustration I’m dealing with. But I’m giving my all any time I’m out there. Sometimes, that’s not enough for what our team needs right now but please believe every time I step on that floor, it’s to help my team win.” – Swin Cash

“Cash joked, ruefully, that her back pain had been debilitating enough that she has rarely even been shopping this summer.

‘I’m usually up-to-date on all the newest fashion,’ she said. ‘But I haven’t been able to just go to the mall and look around. I have to rest. So my social life has been messed up, but if we win this championship, it will be all worthwhile.’” – Voepel

“I can deal with the physical pain. But the emotional pain I’ve had to deal with this season, winning the championship could make everything OK. But now, it makes it all worse.

I think this is the best organization in the league, the best fans, and I feel like the city adopted me when I came here in 2003. I’ll never forget that. I want to thank the people here, and I feel this is like my home. But at the same time, you have to be happy, and it was emotional this year. If you aren’t respected by the people above you, the happiness is not there, and you have to re-evaluate your situation.” – Cash

“I told our players we have no idea what’s going to happen because of the collective bargaining agreement. Every team in this league has multiple free agents. We happen to have three unrestricted free agents [Nolan, Smith and Cash] and two restricted free agents [Ford and Pierson]. And they are all starters.

So it’s a wide-open situation, not only what our team will look like, but other teams. Also, is there an expansion? There are so many question marks out there for next season. However, we do have a great nucleus of very talented players. And I think our future is very bright.” – Shock head coach Bill Laimbeer

“Bill threw Cash under the bus, and Cash threw one of the worst passes for a crucial turnover in game 4. I would pull her out as well.

If Laimbeer is done with her, and you seem very sure of that (as do I) I am not in the least bit surprised he has taken this course of action. (Injury or not) Seems Laimbeer like to me. If she is not pulling her weight (and she was not) Then I don’t blame Bill at all. Could he have been nicer about it? Sure. But then he would not be very Laimbeer like.

If you fight, and work hard – Bill is on your side. If you slack, and you are not playing to the level that you should, or to the level Bill thinks you should – you are out, and he dismisses you. You obviously do not agree with Laimbeer’s style. I do.

And Bill leaving her in, in the last minute of game 5 while pulling the rest of his starters was a direct message to Cash.” – james, Detroit Bad Boys

“The Seattle Storm announced today the acquisition of two-time WNBA champion and two-time WNBA All Star Swin Cash. Cash was acquired from the Detroit Shock in exchange for the No. 4 pick in the April 9 WNBA Draft.

Cash, a 6-1 forward, has averaged 12.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists during her six-year WNBA career, all as a starter in Detroit. The second overall pick in the 2002 WNBA Draft out of Connecticut behind new teammate Sue Bird, Cash 11.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists during the 2007 season for the Shock. She was a member of the 2003 and 2006 WNBA champion Detroit Shock teams.” – WNBA.com

“Swin has done great things for our franchise, helping us win two championships, and has also done great things in the community. We’re very appreciative of her time here, and we wish her the greatest success in her new start.” – Laimbeer

“In Seattle, Cash will be reunited with former college teammate Sue Bird. The pair made one of the NCAA’s most successful combinations at Connecticut, winning a pair of national titles, including a 39-0 season alongside Diana Taurasi in 2002.

Cash and Bird also won gold together in the 2004 Summer Olympics, but Cash tore her right anterior cruciate ligament later that season, and never appeared to regain her full quickness after the injury.” – Associated Press

“Having Swin on our roster is a huge boost going into this season. She brings great scoring ability, but also tremendous experience. Her playoff experience and championships are exactly the kind of attributes we’re looking for. We’re excited about camp opening this spring with Swin in a Storm uniform.” – Storm head coach Brian Agler

“I’m really happy to be in Seattle and I look forward to the upcoming season. Playing with Sue (Bird) and Lauren (Jackson) is going to be exciting for me. I’m also looking forward to playing for Coach Agler. He brings a lot of experience to the women’s game, and I’m happy to be playing for him in Seattle.” – Cash


With the pick acquired in the Cash trade, Detroit selected guard Alexis Hornbuckle from Tennessee with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft. Hornbuckle would be with the organization until the middle of the 2010 season when the team, now in Tulsa after relocation, dealt her to the Minnesota Lynx for forward Rashanda McCants.

The 2008 Detroit Shock went 22-12 in the regular season, finishing atop the Eastern Conference. They defeated the No. 4 seed Indiana Fever, 2-1, in the first round, then toppled the No. 3 seed New York Liberty, 2-1, in the conference finals. In the WNBA Finals, Detroit avenged its defeat in 2007, sweeping the West’s No. 1 seeded San Antonio Silver Stars, 3-0, to take the organization’s third crown.

Seattle ended 22-12 and second in the Western Conference in the regular season in 2008, with Cash as the team’s third-leading scorer and rebounder at 11.3 points and 5.4 boards per contest. In the playoffs, the Storm lost in the first round to the No. 3 seed Los Angeles Sparks, 2-1. After another first round exit in 2009, Seattle got over the hump in 2010 and won its second title. Cash’s 13.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per outing were crucial to the team’s triumph.

Cash played in Seattle for four seasons, earning two trips to the All-Star Game (2009 and 2011) during the stint. In 2012, her time in the Pacific Northwest came to a close as the Storm sent her, along with Le’coe Willingham and a 2012 second rounder (No. 23 overall), to Chicago for the Sky’s 2012 first-round pick, the No. 2 overall selection. Storm head coach Brian Agler tabbed salary cap space as an important motivator in the deal.

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