October 25, 2021 

Atlanta Dream hire two-time Executive of the Year Dan Padover as new general manager

Former Aces' executive to take the helm ahead of busy offseason.

The Atlanta Dream have hired Dan Padover, a two-time WNBA Executive of the Year (2020, 2021) in the Las Vegas Aces front office, to take the reigns as their new general manager, the team announced on Monday morning. Khristina Williams first reported the news. Darius Taylor will move into the assistant general manager position after spending the latter half of the season coaching the team through roster upheaval and a string of injury issues. The move comes two weeks after Atlanta pegged Las Vegas assistant Tanisha Wright to become its head coach of the future.

In 2021, Atlanta went 8-24 and cycled through three head coaches in five months. It also operated without a general manager for the entirety of the season after parting ways with 2018 WNBA Executive of the Year Chris Sienko in May. Since then, the ownership group and the coaching staff have been responsible for collaborating on personnel decisions. The 2022 offseason offers the chance at a fresh start for Atlanta.

Padover isn’t known for shying away from splashy moves, and should have plenty of opportunity to shake the table during his first offseason in Atlanta. Within the first offseason of his tenure as the Aces’ general manager, Padover orchestrated the trade that delivered Liz Cambage to Las Vegas in exchange for two players and two picks and drafted Jackie Young with the first pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft. Whether he’d make a similar sort of splash at the helm in Atlanta will have to be seen, but there’s perhaps no team that presents those sorts of opportunities than the as-constructed Atlanta Dream.

On top of the Dream’s $836,241 in cap space entering free agency (the third most in the WNBA, per Her Hoop Stats), the team may continue exploring trade options of Chennedy Carter, one of the league’s most talented young stars who spent the latter half of the season suspended due to conduct detrimental to the team.

Padover has a strong track record in free agency, signing Angel McCoughtry in 2020 and adding Chelsea Gray and Riquna Williams the following year to help fill the Aces’ need for perimeter creation. Though he will take the lead on all personnel decisions moving forward, Padover is inheriting a roster where several of the decisions have already been made for him.

Just this past month, the team informed Courtney Williams and Crystal Bradford that they will not return in 2022, as reported by The Next’s Howard Megdal. Bradford and Williams represented two key pieces of the team’s core in 2021, but the team cut ties with both players after Williams released a video of the pair fighting several other people in a parking lot.

Cheyenne Parker is the only guaranteed contract on the books in 2022, and while Aari McDonald and Monique Billings seem like near-locks to return to the Dream, the rest of the roster is more of a question mark.

Salary cap information and graphic from Her Hoop Stats.

Convincing Dream-lifer Tiffany Hayes will likely be toward the top of the franchise’s wish list, as she has been a steady presence and arguably the second-best player in the team’s history during her nine-year career. She posted an All-Star caliber performance in 2021 before a midseason injury sidelined her for a chunk of the season. Jonquel Jones, Tina Charles, Jewell Loyd and Liz Cambage represent some of the sought-after names Padover could have a chance to go after in free agency (coring decisions pending in some cases).

He’s also tasked with deciding what to do with the team’s lottery pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft. Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard and Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith are widely projected to end up at the top of the board on draft night, and Atlanta will have the second-best odds at snatching one of them up with the #1 pick, as its lottery odds sit at 27.6 percent.

Written by Spencer Nusbaum

Atlanta Dream & Big 12 reporter, breaking news and other things.

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