Becky Hammon’s days as an assistant coach with the Spurs are coming to an end.
The Aces announced Hammon as their new head coach on Friday. Late Thursday night, The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Chantel Jennings first reported that Hammon was closing in on a historic deal to become Las Vegas’s new coach.
The deal will reportedly make Hammon the highest-paid coach in league history.
GirlsTalkSports’s Khristina Williams reported Friday that Hammon will also serve as the team’s GM.
Hammon has been an assistant with San Antonio for the past six seasons, and has been at the front of the Spurs’ bench since 2018. The 44-year-old was a six-time WNBA All-Star in a 16-year playing career.
She served as the Spurs’ head coach during the summer league in past seasons and stepped in as coach for the team during the 2020 regular season when head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected on Dec. 30, 2020. Hammon was recently linked as a target for head coach positions with both the Aces and the Liberty, per the Athletic.
In an interview with SI’s Michael Pina in August, Hammon reaffirmed her desire to one day be a head coach, adding that she’s learned a lot from the process of interviewing for head coaching jobs in the NBA.
“I think I get better every time I go through it and walk through that door. But at the end of the day, an organization is gonna hire me because I’m the best coach for the job,” Hammon said. “And all the stuff that comes after that will come. There’s no stopping that tidal wave. And I think, for me, it’s always a fine line of not overlooking or underestimating or downplaying the moment. But my primary focus has to be to become the best coach that I can be, and be there for my players, for whatever organization is the right fit for me.”
While it looks like all signs point to Hammon taking her talents to Las Vegas, the move caught many by surprise considering that the Aces did not enter the offseason in need of a coach. Only two franchises—the Liberty and the Mercury—were searching for new head coaches.
According to The Athletic, current Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer could potentially take a front office role or advisory role with the team. Laimbeer has recorded a 77–45 record with the team through four seasons.
When Hammon officially becomes the coach of the Aces, she will get to work immediately on free agent acquisitions, as WNBA free agency begins at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 1.
Considering the Aces’ roster, three players—Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and Dearica Hamby—will be under contract for the 2022 season. However, A’ja Wilson will be a restricted free agent while both Liz Cambage and Angel McCoughtry will be free agents.