The Oklahoma City Thunder will be without head coach Mark Daigneault on their upcoming three-game road trip.
Daigneault will be with his wife Ashley as they are expecting their first child any day now.
“We looked at a couple of options of being with the team in terms of travel, and it’s not overly practical and it’s just not something I wanted to risk,” he said, via The Oklahoman.
The Thunder will kick off their three-game trip Friday in Milwaukee before hitting Boston on Saturday and wrapping up with Atlanta on Monday.
Dave Bliss, who is in his third season as an assistant coach with the Thunder, will take Daigneault’s place in the meantime.
“He’s had a prevalent voice with the team throughout the course of the season,” Daigneault said of Bliss, via The Oklahoman. “This is not a departure from what we normally do.
“Dave’s a guy, he started in the organization a long time ago, he grew up in this organization, he came back to this organization, he’s served in almost every role on the coaching staff other than head coach, and now he will.”
Daigneault is in his second season leading the Thunder. He was promoted to replace Billy Donovan last season after he left for the Chicago Bulls. Oklahoma City has started the season 6-8, and is fresh off a 12-point win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
Daigneault will take over starting Wednesday, when the Thunder host the Utah Jazz. Until then, he said, he’ll be watching the team from home or his wife’s hospital room.
“I’m looking forward to watching it,” Daigneault said, via The Oklahoman. “It’ll be weird and interesting, but it’s gonna be fun. It’s a great opportunity for not only Dave, but the rest of our coaching staff and the team.
“It’s a little bit of a stress test, in a good way, and that’s how you get better and grow.”