Basketball-Aces lose 2025 first-round pick, Hammon suspended for WNBA rule violations

(Reuters) – The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) stripped defending champions Las Vegas Aces of their 2025 first-round draft pick and suspended head coach Becky Hammon for two games without pay for violating league rules on Tuesday.

The league found the Aces made promises of “impermissible benefits” in negotiations for a contract extension with two-time All-Star Dearica Hamby, who went to the Los Angeles Sparks in January.


Hammon, who took the reins last year after eight years as an assistant coach with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, was found to have committed a “Respect in the Workplace” violation with comments regarding Hamby’s recent pregnancy.

The investigation, however, was not able to substantiate concerns over the Aces’ conduct during the off-season. The Next reported in February that The Aces were under investigation by the WNBA for circumventing the salary cap.

“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.”

The Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) said the league’s decision “misses the mark” and that docking a draft pick removes an opportunity for a future player to compete for a job. 

“Where in this decision does this team or any other team across the League learn the lesson that respect in the workplace is the highest standard and a player’s dignity cannot be manipulated?” the WNBPA said in a statement.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Toby Davis)