The WNBA came down hard on Becky Hammon and the Las Vegas Aces. Following an investigation into a play-for-play scheme that the Aces were being investigated for “making under-the-table payment offers to both current players and free agents the team has pursued,” the WNBA ruled on Tuesday that it found that the franchise had violated the league’s rules regarding impermissible player benefits and Respect in the Workplace policies.

The league announced that it had rescinded the team’s 2025 first-round draft pick and suspended the head coach Hammon for two games. 

In February, Howard Megdal of The Next revealed that the Aces were under investigation.

Per Medgal, a high-level member of the Aces franchise would instruct either the free agent or the player’s agent that they would receive another call after initial contract negotiations. That call would include an offer for a specific amount of money from a pre-selected company in return for “negligible” work. Any attempt to do so would be a scheme to circumvent the WNBA’s salary cap. And such an act clearly violates the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The investigation concluded that the subsequent violation was due to improper benefits in connection with the negotiation of then-Aces player Dearica Hamby and her contract. The breach of workplace policies occurred when Hammon commented to Hamby about her recent pregnancy.

The league opened an investigation after Hamby made a complaint. After interviewing 33 people, they made their decision to punish the Aces and Becky Hammon.

“It is critical that we uphold the values of integrity and fairness, which create a level playing field for our teams,” said WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “The Aces failed to adhere to league rules and regulations and have been disciplined accordingly. We are also disheartened by the violation of our Respect in the Workplace policies and remain committed to ensuring that enhanced training is conducted and standards are followed across all WNBA teams.”

[The NextWNBAPA]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.