Dan Padover, named general manager of the Atlanta Dream on Monday, recognizes that creating a destination franchise won’t be an overnight job. The Dream, who have gone 23-65 and failed to advance to the playoffs in the past three seasons, are looking to enter a new era under first-time WNBA owners and a first-year head coach.
Atlanta has just five players under contract for 2022, including 2020 and 2021 first-round draft picks Chennedy Carter and Aari McDonald, meaning Padover can help shape the roster right away.
“Everybody can see who we’ve got under contract; it’s not a lot. And they can see the new infrastructure we’re putting in place, which is a lot,” Padover told ESPN. “It’s a basketball purist’s dream. You’re building in every way: through the draft, through free agency and through a leadership perspective. Kind of every reason you get into the profession.”
Padover confirmed the team will not re-sign Courtney Williams and Crystal Bradford, who were involved in an altercation outside of an Atlanta club in May and at the center of controversy after a video of the fight surfaced earlier this month. Their agent, Marcus Crenshaw, said the Dream had informed him that they did not intend to bring his clients back.
Another player whose future with Atlanta has been up in the air is Carter. The 2020 fourth overall draft pick was suspended indefinitely in July for “conduct detrimental to the team” and did not play the rest of the season. She has since hinted at her frustration with the organization on Twitter.
“I plan to reach out to each of the players on our roster, including Chennedy, and take the winter to figure out the structure of our roster,” Padover said.
Padover, named the WNBA’s Executive of the Year the past two seasons, said Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer understood his decision to leave Las Vegas for Atlanta.
“He basically kind of said to me, ‘This is your next step. We’re competitors now, but if you ever need an ear, I’m here,'” Padover said. “Relatively speaking, the job will be pretty similar to what I did for the Aces. There wasn’t anything I wanted to do from a personnel standpoint in Vegas that I wasn’t able to do. But I think the impact I can have from day one with the Dream can be bigger.”