Chantel Jennings and Shams Charania of The Athletic report that San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon “is set to close historic deal” to become head coach of the WNBA Las Vegas Aces. It will be a “record deal” for a WNBA head coach, according to Jennings and Charania.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski adds that it will be a five-year contract for Hammon and that she will end the season with Spurs.

Hammon, 44, is a WNBA legend after playing for the New York Liberty and San Antonio Stars for 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 squad in 2014, making her the first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history. She was elevated to a more important 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 hold the position of head coach of the NBA when she replaced Popovich after he was sent off from a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Hammon has been highly praised for her coaching abilities and basketball spirit by Popovich and many others in the NBA, and she has interviewed for head coaching positions with the Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic. and Portland Trail Blazers.

However, it’s unclear how serious the NBA organizations really were in giving Hammon this (late) chance to be a head coach. And – although we don’t yet know the contract details that might explain further – those questions will remain after she chooses to work at the WNBA. Did she feel the NBA opportunity wasn’t going to come up anytime soon, or did she just get a WNBA opportunity that she felt she couldn’t pass up?

What we can say for sure is that this is a home run rental for 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 play a front office or advisory role to franchise”.

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