May 17, 2023 

New details on Las Vegas Aces investigation contradict Becky Hammon’s comments

Inside the methods used to investigate Dearica Hamby's claims

On Wednesday morning, Las Vegas Aces’ head coach Becky Hammon struck a defiant tone about her role in an investigation over allegations brought by Dearica Hamby that ultimately led to the league suspending Hammon and rescinding a first round pick of the Aces, mirroring the team’s statement late Tuesday saying the team’s “actions have always been consistent with our responsibility to hold ourselves to the highest professional standards, and the facts we presented were consistent with these standards.” 

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Asked Wednesday if she felt her actions had fallen short of those standards, Hammon was adamant that they hadn’t.

“No, I don’t, I don’t think they fell short,” Hammon said Wednesday. “That’s not how I recall the conversation [with Hamby] going. And there wasn’t one player complaint in the last six, previous six months. [Aces president] Nikki Fargas can attest to that not one person or office complaining, there’s not one point or statement that was reported to Nikki of anything, but quite honestly compliments and how they liked me being their coach. So that’s who I am.”

But new information confirmed by the WNBA calls into question a number of Hammon’s assertions from the press conference, while other questions still loom. New details on the scope of the investigation also establish the level of seriousness with which the inquiry was handled.

A source familiar with the investigation (confirmed by the WNBA) tells The Next that while Hammon repeatedly asserted that no current Aces players were interviewed during the investigation among the 33 people spoken to, that came from a direct choice made by the team itself. The league offered the Aces the opportunity to add anyone they felt would be relevant to the inquiry to the investigation, and the Aces declined to include any of their current players, or indeed, anyone at all who wasn’t already on a list formulated by the league and the WNBPA.

That list, provided to a pair of investigators — one from the U.S. Attorney’s Office from the Southern District of New York, the other from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office — ultimately made up the group of 33 individuals, a collection the source described as “everyone who they thought would have relevant information”. That collection of people — those involved in the conversations between Hamby and Aces officials, including Hammon, along with a list provided by the WNBPA — did not include any current Aces players by the choice of the team, according to a source familiar.

Hammon also said during her press conference that Liz Cambage — a former Las Vegas player — was among the 33 players interviewed, but a league source denied this.

The Aces did not immediately have comment on either Cambage’s inclusion in the investigation or the allegation that they declined to add anyone to the list of people the investigators would talk to, including their current players.

“As expected, the facts did not demonstrate that the Aces violated the salary cap by paying players ‘under the table’ or acted impermissibly during the 2023 free agency period,” the Aces said in their statement Tuesday evening.

But the league concluded otherwise. And it appears that, given the chance to cooperate fully in showing that, the Aces declined to do so.

Written by Howard Megdal

Howard is the founder of The Next and editor-in-chief.

5 Comments

  1. Chris Smith on May 17, 2023 at 5:59 pm

    It appears that the end of the investigation didn’t fully justify the severity of the allegations asserted by Ms. Hamby nor did it, penalize the Aces for violating one of core clauses of the CBA agreement with the WNBAPA. Why?
    Also, the Aces by refusing to include current players or management, took the fifth to hide, cover up and shield their involvement, in hope of avoiding any penalties. The coach and Aces organization would have been better off by offering an apologize and not criticizing the investigation and accepting the finding, instead of attacking it. They’ve lost respect of the other teams, players and sports world.

    • Zemog13 on May 18, 2023 at 4:38 pm

      I agree! I love the Aces, but management botched this on so many levels. Rather than owning what they did and apologizing, they tried to cover it up and hope it would just go away. Becky is “towing” the corporate line right now. I think the person that she is would have apologized and owned her part in it. Now she has to be the face of it and is just saying whatever Nikki feeds her. I suspect the players are going to have to start doing damage control too. Pretend it didn’t happen and it didn’t…right?!

  2. liz on May 18, 2023 at 9:12 am

    If no current players were on the list, how could they possibly make a judgement of the “paying under the table” for the current season? If Parker really moved for “family”, she should have gone back to LA. The family is still a plane ride away. No way she takes a 50% pay cut to shave an hour off the flight. The whole, well, Davis has contacts because he owns the Raiders too, doesn’t sit well AT ALL. The Lynx players should be making bank next year then, considering all the contacts between the Timberwolves and Taylor, Lore, and A-Rod. And what can the WNBA say about that now?

    • JT on May 25, 2023 at 2:00 pm

      Parker going to Vegas is her retirement plan. LeBron wants to own the Vegas NBA team and gives her ability to buy in.

  3. Patrick Teicher on May 18, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    Coverage of this situation has ignored the facts, and it appears, intentionally, tarnished the reputation of a thoughtful, caring, excellent coach. Shame on the WNBA, and even the players association!

    Pat Teicher, disgusted Sports Fan.

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