Coach to return to team after mother's funeral

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Coach Nate McMillan is scheduled to
rejoin the Seattle SuperSonics for practice Sunday following the
funeral of his mother this week in North Carolina.
The memorial service is Friday, but McMillan will miss Seattle's
home game Saturday against Charlotte. Jeanette Tyson, 62, died last
McMillan is in Raleigh, N.C., dealing with family issues, and
fourth-year associate head coach Dwane Casey is running the team in
McMillan's absence. They have been speaking several times a day to
discuss how the Sonics are playing.
"He's got a lot to deal with," Casey said before Seattle
played the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. "We talk over
things. He tells me to do what I do. ... I'm not going to do
anything different."
McMillan was upset with the Sonics' lack of energy in their
103-84 home loss to San Antonio on Monday night, Casey said.
In addition, All-Star guard Ray Allen missed his second straight
game -- and only his second this season -- with the flu. He saw a
team doctor in Seattle and didn't travel to Sacramento, but is
expected to be healthy enough to play in Saturday's game.
"The hardest thing is to find the button to push when you don't
have the buttons," Casey said, alluding to the absence of Allen.
The players have been impressed with Casey's professionalism
during this challenging time when he's basically doing double duty.
Along with his normal pregame jobs of scouting reports and
gathering other personnel information, Casey suddenly has several
media interviews before a game added to his list.
"He coached Nate McMillan, so that shows he has experience
under his belt," forward Rashard Lewis said. "He's being a real
pro about it. He's been coaching a long time. He's ready to be a
head coach now. He's working overtime."
Casey made it clear he's not trying to replace McMillan. It
helps the two men share the same basketball philosophy.
"This is Nate's team," he said. "I have no desire to be the
head coach of this team. I don't want to overstep my boundaries,
which can become an issue."
This marks the second time in the last month McMillan has left
the team to deal with family issues. On Jan. 13, he missed a game
against the Los Angeles Clippers to attend the funeral of an aunt.
"I feel for him," Casey said. "He's lost two important people
in his life."