Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon has been suspended for two games without pay and the team has lost its 2025 first-round draft pick as the result of a WNBA investigation, the league announced Tuesday.
Former Aces player Dearica Hamby’s claims of “unethical treatment” from the team led to the investigation. The Aces “discriminated against” Hamby due to her pregnancy, she said in a statement after her trade to the Los Angeles Sparks in January.
In announcing the Aces’ punishments, the WNBA confirmed that Hammon made comments to Hamby about her pregnancy in violation of the league’s Respect in the Workplace policies. Hamby had not specified who in the Las Vegas front office had commented on her pregnancy.
The league did not provide details on Hammon’s comments to Hamby, but Hamby had outlined the team’s criticisms from her perspective in her statement earlier this year.
“I was told that I was ‘a question mark’ and that it was said that I said I would ‘get pregnant again’ and there was a concern for my level of commitment to the team,” she wrote. “I was told that ‘I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain’ (because ‘no one expected me to get pregnant in the next two years’).”
The Aces also had made promises of “impermissible benefits” when negotiating a two-year extension with Dearica Hamby last June, which led to the loss of the 2025 draft pick.
“It is critical that we uphold the values of integrity and fairness, which create a level playing field for our teams,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “The Aces failed to adhere to league rules and regulations and have been disciplined accordingly. We are also disheartened by the violation of our Respect in the Workplace policies and remain committed to ensuring that enhanced training is conducted and standards are followed across all WNBA teams.”
Several people interviewed by the league also raised concerns about the Aces’ conduct during the most recent free agency period, but the investigation “was not able to substantiate any of those additional concerns,” the league said. The investigation involved interviews with 33 people as well as the review of texts, emails and other documents.
The loss of a 2025 first-round pick could prove particularly costly, especially considering that Las Vegas does not have a 2024 first-round pick due to a prior trade. A number of college stars, including Caitlin Clark, Hailey Van Lith, and Angel Reese, are set to enter the league in the next two years.
We have rescinded the Las Vegas Aces’ 2025 first-round draft pick for violating league rules regarding impermissible player benefits & suspended head coach Becky Hammon for two games w/o pay for violating league and team Respect in the Workplace policiesFull Statement ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/MtHz1yP2Gm— WNBA (@WNBA) May 16, 2023
We have rescinded the Las Vegas Aces’ 2025 first-round draft pick for violating league rules regarding impermissible player benefits & suspended head coach Becky Hammon for two games w/o pay for violating league and team Respect in the Workplace policiesFull Statement ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/MtHz1yP2Gm