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The WNBA stripped the 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. Hammon was investigated for comments she made to  Dearica Hamby about her pregnancy. While the players’ union said the punishment did not go far enough, the Aces defended Hammon as a “caring human.”

The Las Vegas Aces traded Hamby to the Los Angeles Sparks in January, after the Aces won a championship. At the time, Hamby wrote in a post on Instagram that an unnamed person had made “disgusting comments.” She said she had been wrongfully accused of signing a contract extension when she knew she was pregnant.

The WNBA did not respond to a request for specific details about what Hammon told Hamby, but in the suspension announcement, the WNBA said Hammon’s comments violated its policy on respect in the workplace. The league also said the Aces would lose a first round pick in the 2025 draft.

According to “The investigation into the Aces was originally announced in February following a report that detailed the Aces were offering under-the-table payments to current players and free agents they were trying to sign.”  Dearica Hamby shared on social media back in January that she was “traumatized” by the “unprofessional and unethical way” that she was treated following her announcement of her pregnancy and subsequent trade to the Los Angeles Sparks. Hamby added the Aces falsely accused her of signing an extension while knowingly pregnant.

After a long winter, spring is here, and with it a new WNBA season. The 2023 campaign, which will see teams play a record 40 regular-season games, have tips off on Friday, May 19th.

The Aces open the 2023 season on Saturday May 20th against the Seattle Storm. Hammon will be eligible to return to the bench on May 27th against the Sparks.