Las Vegas Aces head coach Becky Hammon denied making derogatory remarks about two-time all-star Dearica Hamby’s pregnancy, telling reporters on Wednesday that the decision to trade her to the Los Angeles Sparks was purely a business one.
The WNBA suspended Hammon for two games on Tuesday, saying she had violated “Respect in the Workplace” policies. The violation “was related to comments made by Hammon to Hamby in connection with Hamby’s recent pregnancy,” the league said in a statement.
The league also docked the Aces their 2025 first-round pick for offering “impermissible benefits” related to Hamby’s contract extension negotiations.
Hamby, who gave birth to her second child in March, initiated a complaint with the league on Jan. 21, the same day she said on social media that she fought to stay with the defending champions “up until the disgusting comments that were made to me”.
Hammon told reporters that while she did ask about Hamby’s pregnancy, she never made derogatory remarks and that their relationship was amicable until she informed the former first-round draft pick that she would be traded.
“I handled Dearica with care from day one, when she told me. And she knows that,” said Hammon. “Once I make the phone call that the decision has been made to move her, that’s when everything kind of fell apart.”
A representative for Hamby did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The situation has placed an unwelcome spotlight on the Aces, who are expected to be among the most dominant teams in the league with twice-MVP Candace Parker and two-time champion Alysha Clark joining the reigning Most Valuable Player A’ja Wilson in the off-season.
Hammon, a former six-time WNBA all-star, is among the highest-profile figures in the coaching ranks. She took the reins in early 2022 after eight years as an assistant coach with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. She has been linked with the Toronto Raptors for their vacant head-coaching position and is one of the favourites to land it.
“I’ll take my little lump on the chin and keep it moving,” Hammon said.
“Everybody’s kind of disappointed in the situation, but, at the end of the day, we know who we are, and so we go to sleep every night in that truth.”
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