Becky Hammon Jul 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Antonio Spurs Summer League head coach Becky Hammon huddles with players during an NBA Summer League game against the Golden State Warriors at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors are casting a wide net in their search to replace recently fired head coach Nick Nurse.

One of the candidates stands out, for reasons beyond just Xs and Os. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday night that the Raptors have received permission to speak with Becky Hammon, head coach of the WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces.

Obviously, getting an interview doesn’t automatically lead to a job, but the fact a woman is being considered for the post is a sign of how things have progressed.

Hammon is hardly an unknown in NBA circles, as she worked as an assistant coach from 2014-2022 with the San Antonio Spurs. And she already has NBA head coaching experience, of a sort, having coached a game for the Spurs in 2020, when Gregg Popovich got ejected during the contest.

Hammon would be the first full-time woman head coach in the league, obviously. A former college All-American player, she went on to play 13 years in the WNBA and overseas. The Russian native also represented Russia in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

She joined the Aces in 2022 and was named coach of the year after leading them to the WNBA title. She was also named as an inductee for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2023.

According to ESPN’s report, the Raptors are also expected to interview Kenny Atkinson of the Golden State Warriors, the Sacramento Kings’ Jordi Fernandez, the San Antonio Spurs’ Mitch Johnson, Charles Lee of the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat assistant Chris Quinn, the Memphis Grizzlies’ Darko Rajakovic and Phoenix Suns assistant Kevin Young.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.