Dearica Hamby and Becky Hammon are preparing to share a court Thursday night when the Sparks host the Aces at Crypto.com Arena in sunny Los Angeles, Calif.
But, after the recent events, and the underlying issues unearthed between the former Aces forward and the current Aces head coach, things are more than likely going to be tense.
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The Sporting News looked into why Hamby and Hammon are at odds right now.
Why is there drama between Dearica Hamby and Becky Hammon?
Hamby and Hammon have drama encircling them right now due to issues from the offseason.
Hamby had signed a two-year extension to remain in Las Vegas last June. After they had won the championship last October, during their celebratory parade, the 29-year-old announced that she was pregnant with her second child.
Things ultimately spiraled when Hamby was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks in late January. Hamby alleged that her former organization acted in a “traumatizing” manner due to her pregnancy. She also indicated that her pregnancy was the reason for her trade to the Sparks.
The league’s CBA, enacted in 2020, stipulates that WNBA players receive their full salary while on maternity leave, as well as a childcare stipend. Teams are granted a maternity cap exception allowing teams to sign a replacement player if they don’t have enough cap room.
“Did the team expect me to promise not to get pregnant in exchange for the contract extension?,” Hamby said in a statement. “I was asked if I planned my pregnancy. When I responded, ‘no,’ I was then told that I ‘was not taking precautions to not get pregnant.’ I was being traded because ‘I wouldn’t be ready and we need bodies.'”
The trade sparked a league investigation which led to Hammon being suspended for the Aces’ first two games of the regular season.
Why was Becky Hammon suspended two games?
Hammon was suspended for two games without pay after she violated league and team Respect in the Workplace policies.
The specific policy, which hasn’t necessarily been made public by the WNBA itself, is essentially the same as its brother league, the NBA, which states that it is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all working within its walls.
MORE: Becky Hammon WNBA suspension, explained
In addition to the head coach’s suspension, Las Vegas has been forced to forfeit its 2025 first-round draft pick. This was another issue in itself that stemmed from alleged comments made to the forward.
Hamby claimed Aces personnel had attacked her work ethic, despite how often she expressed her interest in playing in 2023 and all the offseason workouts she participated in while carrying her child.
She also accused the Aces of acting “unethical and unprofessional,” and that said personnel had also “promised things to entice me to sign her contract extension that were not followed through on.”
The league later found that Las Vegas’ front office had indeed offered impermissible incentives in her contract and therefore, they were docked that upcoming first-round pick.
What did Dearica Hamby say about the Aces?
Hamby took to her Instagram to share a statement on the heartbreaking and frustrating dilemma she found herself in with her former franchise.
In her post, she said:
Being traded is part of the business. Being lied to, bullied, manipulated and discriminated against is not. I have had my character and work ethic attacked. I was promised things to entice me to sign my contract extension that were not followed through on. I was accused of signing my extension knowingly pregnant. This is false. 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. 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”).
What did the Aces, Becky Hammon say about the WNBA investigation?
The Las Vegas Aces released a statement on May 16 that said they were “deeply disappointed by the outcome of the WNBA investigation” and that the league’s “determinations about Becky Hammon are inconsistent” with that they know and love about her. They also stated that they “stand behind Coach Hammon.”
— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) May 16, 2023
Per CBS Sports Hammon spoke on her own about the incident in a preseason media call, stating:
I don’t recall my relationship with Hamby being anything but on the up-and-up, and I’m just — obviously along with the organization — disappointed with the findings. It’s never [good] to have your name be associated with something like that, which is not who you are as a person. That’s not how I operate. I did talk to my team; they were great. I have to say they’ve been very professional throughout this whole process.