The Toronto Raptors’ head coaching search has gone in all sorts of zany directions, with experienced stalwart (Monty Williams), top assistants (David Adelman), and media figures (JJ Redick) all getting consideration. Even Becky Hammon was mentioned as someone who could step into that role.
Hammon, who spent years as one of Gregg Popovich’s top assistants with the San Antonio Spurs, is currently the head coach of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces. With the WNBA potentially entering a proto-super team era with the Aces out West and the New York Liberty making some big moves, Hammon could be on the ground floor of something special.
That didn’t stop Masai Ujiri from requesting permission to speak with Hammon for the coaching vacancy. While admittedly a long shot, it was worth trying. However, in an interview with TIME Magazine, Hammon once again made it sound like she has minimal interest in the NBA.
“I love being here,” Hammon said. “I love being back on the women’s side. I don’t need the stamp of approval from the NBA.” That quote might be enough to close the book on her joining the Raptors at this point in time.
Becky Hammon might not join the Toronto Raptors.
Hammon, counting the postseason, went 34-12 in her debut season in the WNBA and took home a championship. Her acumen is further backed up by the fact that she often helped coach games in which Popovich was either ejected or unavailable. She can coach her ass off, and the Raptors know this.
Hammon has enough leverage to wait for the perfect NBA situation to present itself. Joining a Raptors team that is essentially locked into one way of playing the game and has an organizational mandate to win now might not be the best for someone who is still trying to get their feet under them as a head coach at this level.
If the Raptors are set on hiring a coach from the Popovich tree, they did request to speak with Spurs assistant Mitch Johnson early in the process. Mike Budenholzer, who has a championship ring dating back to his time with the Milwaukee Bucks, is also in need of a job right now.
The league had their chances to hire Hammon, but their hesitancy led to her eventually crossing over to the WNBA. With her Aces squad poised for a half-decade of dominance, Hammon can simply stay in the WNBA and rack up the wins until the best job comes calling.