By Mechelle Voepel
In August 2014, Becky Hammon played her final game for the San Antonio Stars, and said goodbye to the WNBA to move on to an assistant coaching role with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. Now, she’s reportedly finalizing a five-year deal and returning to the WNBA, and in a roundabout way to the franchise with which she spent eight of her 16 seasons as a player.
Hammon is taking over as head coach of the Las Vegas Aces and will try to lead them to their first WNBA title. The Aces were originally the Utah Starzz when the league launched in 1997. Then the franchise moved to San Antonio in 2003, and finally to Las Vegas in 2018. The Aces honored Hammon this past season by retiring her jersey, and now she will be coaching where it hangs in the rafters.
Bill Laimbeer has coached the Aces to a 77-45 record the past four seasons, losing in the WNBA semifinals in 2019 and 2021 and the WNBA Finals in 2020. While it’s not clear at this point what role, if any, Laimbeer will have with the franchise, he has set a very good foundation for the Aces. Can Hammon get them across the finish line to a championship?