Aces lose 1st-round pick, Hammon suspended

  • Covers women’s college basketball and the WNBA
  • Previously covered UConn and the WNBA Connecticut Sun for the Hartford Courant
  • Stanford graduate and Baltimore native with further experience at the Dallas Morning News, Seattle Times and Cincinnati Enquirer

The WNBA rescinded the Las Vegas Aces’ 2025 first-round draft pick and suspended coach Becky Hammon for two games following an investigation that found the franchise violated league rules regarding impermissible player benefits and workplace policies.

According to the league, which announced the penalties Tuesday, the team violation entailed promises of impermissible benefits during contract extension negotiations for former Aces player Dearica Hamby. The Respect in the Workplace violation stemmed from comments Hammon made to Hamby in connection to the latter’s pregnancy.

The Aces don’t have a 2024 first-round selection because of a prior trade.

Hamby, who this offseason was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks, took her allegations public, alleging in an Instagram post that her former organization treated her in an “unprofessional and unethical way that … has been traumatizing” due to her pregnancy. At the time she did not specify which member of the organization allegedly made disparaging comments.

The league investigated Hamby’s claims, as well as allegations of salary cap circumvention that came out shortly thereafter; the league said the investigation was not able to substantiate any of those particular allegations.

The WNBA’s investigation included interviews with 33 people and a review of numerous texts, emails and other documents, the league said.

“It is critical that we uphold the values of integrity and fairness, which create a level playing field for our teams,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement. “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.”

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