Assistant coach Becky Hammon could be leaving the Spurs’ bench to become a head coach in the WNBA. Both the New York Liberty and the Las Vegas Aces are “seriously pursuing” the former star guard, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The news is not surprising at all, considering Hammon recently made it clear that she would consider a head coaching position in the WNBA and has developed and impressive resume in San Antonio, winning the Summer League title in 2015 and becoming the longest tenured assistant in Gregg Popovich’s staff. It also makes sense for the Liberty and the Aces to be the ones targeting her, since she spent eight years playing in New York before moving on to the San Antonio Silver Stars, which are now under a different name playing in Las Vegas. Either position should be enticing, since the Aces are loaded with talent and the Liberty would give Hammon a chance to return to were it all started for her.
There are no doubts Hammon is ready to take on the reins of a team, and the WNBA could be a great place for her to take the next step in her coaching career, but it would be bittersweet to see one of the pioneers when it comes to women coaching in the NBA to move on without getting an opportunity in the league. Hammon has been interviewed several times for head coaching positions by NBA teams, but has never actually gotten the job. She reportedly came close last offseason with the Trail Blazers, but later on acknowledged that she knew Chauncey Billups was the franchise’s preferred candidate. It would be hard to blame Hammon for not being willing to go through the interviewing process in the NBA again, after disappointing past results.
Losing Hammon would be a big blow to the Spurs, but it’s hard to see what her leaving would actually mean beyond that. It’s possible it could signal that Gregg Popovich is going to stay on past this season, which is something that has been rumored, or it could simply mean that she might not feel like she’s going to be his successor. Ultimately the franchise could adjust to losing her, since they have experience with high turnover in the coaching staff, as Popovich’s assistants have been in high demand in recent years and have taken on jobs with different teams. The WNBA season doesn’t start until after the NBA season is over, so she might be able to finish this year in San Antonio before moving on, if she decides to accept a new job.
Hammon clearly has options, so it will be interesting to see what she decides to do.