SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio Spurs assistant coach and six-time WNBA All-Star Becky Hammon has been named as the new head coach of the Las Vegas Aces, team president Nikki Fargas announced Friday.
The decision had been reported by multiple sources Thursday night.
“We’re very excited to have Becky return to the Aces’ franchise as our head coach,” Fargas said in a news release. “Her success in the sport of basketball as both a player and a coach is unparalleled, and fueled by a tenacious desire to be the best she can possibly be. We have one of the most talented rosters in the WNBA, and Becky is the absolute best person to lead this team.”
“I am so excited to return to the WNBA and grateful for Mark Davis and Nikki Fargas having a vision for me to lead the Aces,” Hammon said. “This is where I come from, and I wouldn’t be me without the W. I’m thrilled to be able to give back and lead this next group of women.”
The Aces retired Hammon's jersey in September as part of a ceremony embracing the franchise's history in both San Antonio and Utah.
Hammon replaces Bill Laimbeer, who coached the Aces for the team’s first four years in Las Vegas. He led the Aces to three WNBA Semifinals appearances and the 2020 WNBA Finals.
“This is the best possible scenario for the Las Vegas Aces,” Laimbeer said. “It takes a tremendous amount of energy to be a head coach. In Becky, the team now has somebody who can serve in that role for the long term, which is great for both the players and the franchise.”
Laimbeer will continue to work for the Aces, focusing initially on assisting with the team’s roster construction for 2022. The league’s free agency signing period begins next week.
Hammon played 16 seasons in the WNBA, including her final eight in San Antonio, where she led the franchise to its first WNBA Finals appearance.
On August 5, 2014, San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich hired Hammon as a full-time assistant making her the first woman in league history to occupy that position.
On December 30, 2020, following Popovich’s ejection in San Antonio’s game against Los Angeles, Hammon took over on the bench, becoming the first woman acting head coach in the history of the NBA.
“Becky has become an integral part of our program in every way, shape and form,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said. “This is a great opportunity for her to highlight her many skills. Her intuitive feel for the game and ability to teach will serve the Aces very well as she institutes her system and culture.”
According to a report from The Athletic's Shams Charania and Chantel Jennings, San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon is closing in on a deal to become the next head coach of the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces and the highest-paid coach in league history.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Hammon's deal will be for five years, and said that she will remain with the Spurs through the end of the season.
It was reported that Hammon was being pursued by her other former club, the New York Liberty, but it seems she ultimately will land with the Aces, the former San Antonio Silver Stars club.
Hammon is undeniably one of the top players and point guards in WNBA history. She currently ranks 12th in league history for points (5,841), 6th for assists (1,708), and 4th for made threes (829).
Reaching this deal now is important timing for the Aces, who have played to a 77-45 record under coach Bill Laimbeer since he took over in 2018. WNBA free agency is about to begin, and core players in Liz Cambage and Angel McCoughtry will both be free agents. With Hammon now reportedly in the fold for the next five years, she will almost certainly have some say in how the roster will be built.
In a recent interview, Hammon was asked about filling the job opening with her former team in New York, and sounded more than open to the idea of going back to the WNBA.
"My doors are open. I never closed the door on coming back to the women either," Hammon said. "To me, how could I? That's my heart. That's my roots! I never close the door on any opportunity. If I went back to the WNBA, don't blink."
"I don't look at it as a step back. No, it's not. It's a change of direction. It's a pivot but it's basketball. It's the same stuff," she said.
Following her time with the then-San Antonio Stars, Hammon joined the Spurs coaching staff in 2014 as an assistant coach.
Since then she's reached many milestones including becoming the first-ever female head coach in the NBA's Summer League in 2015 and leading the squad to the Summer League title that same summer.
In 2016, she became the first woman to be part of an NBA All-Star coaching staff and became the first female acting head coach in NBA history in 2020 when Gregg Popovich was ejected from a game.
Many pegged her as the next head coach for San Antonio if and when Popovich retires from basketball.
A move to the WNBA does not close any doors on her still becoming an NBA head coach in the future.