Chantel Jennings and Shams Charania of The Athletic report that San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon is “closing in on a landmark deal” to become head coach of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces. It will be a “record-setting contract” for a WNBA head coach, according to Jennings and Charania.
Just in: San Antonio Spurs assistant and WNBA legend Becky Hammon is closing in on a landmark deal to become the new head coach of the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces, sources tell me and @ShamsCharania.https://t.co/XYVsYgQo6j pic.twitter.com/JXV9NXVing
— Chantel Jennings (@ChantelJennings) December 31, 2021
On this date one year ago, Becky Hammon became the first female to serve as head coach of a game in NBA history during Spurs-Lakers.
Now, Hammon is making the WNBA jump on the richest deal for a head coach in the league's history. https://t.co/yxzQoCvOKo
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 31, 2021
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski adds that it will be a five-year deal for Hammon, and she’ll finish out the season with the Spurs.
San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon is finalizing a five-year deal with the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces that’ll make her the league’s highest paid coach, sources tell ESPN. Hammon plans to finish season with San Antonio.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 31, 2021
Hammon, 44, is a WNBA legend after starring with the New York Liberty and San Antonio Stars over 16 seasons in the league. She was also a three-time All-American in college basketball for the Colorado State Rams.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich hired Hammon to his staff in 2014, making her the first female full-time assistant coach in NBA history. She was elevated to a more prominent assistant position alongside Popovich on the San Antonio bench in 2018. And on December 30, 2020 (exactly one year ago), Hammon became the first woman to serve as an NBA head coach, when she replaced Popovich after he was ejected from a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Hammon has been heavily praised for her coaching ability and basketball mind by Popovich and many others around the NBA, and she has interviewed for head-coaching jobs with the Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, and Portland Trail Blazers.
However, it’s been unclear just how serious NBA organizations truly have been about giving Hammon that (overdue) chance to be a head coach. And — while we don’t yet know the contract specifics that could explain more — those questions will remain after she’s chosen to take a job in the WNBA. Did she feel that the NBA opportunity wasn’t going to be out there anytime soon, or did she simply get a WNBA opportunity she felt she couldn’t pass up?
Without knowing the size of that landmark deal, it’s tough to say whether this is a great moment for WNBA coaching pay equity or the result of Hammon not wanting to go through another round of interviews with NBA execs who never planned to hire her as a head coach. Probably both. https://t.co/Ou4eX06sBy
— Adi Joseph (@AdiJoseph) December 31, 2021
What we can say for sure is that it’s a home run hire for the Aces.
Hammon will replace former NBA star Bill Laimbeer as head coach, and The Athletic reports that Laimbeer — the Aces’ head coach since 2018 — “could potentially take a front office or advisory role with the franchise.”