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Sky have spoken with potential coach/general manager candidates, including Teresa Weatherspoon: sources

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With six regular-season games left for the Sky in 2023, the most pressing question isn’t whether they’ll make the playoffs for a fifth straight year. Two other questions are more pertinent to their long-term success:

One, will they separate the head coach and general manager positions?

And, two, who fills those roles if and when they do?

According to multiple sources close to the situation, the Sky have spoken with Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame player Teresa Weatherspoon, formerly the head coach at Louisiana Tech and most recently an assistant coach with the NBA’s Pelicans, regarding the coaching part of the job. Asked about the extent of those conversations, CEO Adam Fox said the team is “exploring every option on every level.”

On whether that includes Weatherspoon, Fox added, “I would never speak specifically to any candidate.”

Another league source said the Sky also have spoken with Grizzlies assistant Sonia Raman.

Both candidates merit significant consideration. The Pelicans hired Weatherspoon, 57, as a two-way player-development coach in 2019, the same year she was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and kept her as an assistant for four years before releasing her in June. Last year, she reportedly was one of four finalists for the Mercury’s vacant head-coaching job before withdrawing her name from consideration. A five-time WNBA All-Star and two-time defensive player of the year, she spent seven of her eight playing seasons with the Liberty before joining their coaching staff as their first director of player development in 2015. She coached at Louisiana Tech, her alma mater, from 2008 to 2014, leading the program to back-to-back NCAA tournament berths in 2010 and 2011.

The Grizzlies hired Raman, 49, in 2021 to replace Niele Ivey, who left to take the head-coaching job at Notre Dame. Before that, Raman, who played college ball at Tufts University, spent 12 seasons as the women’s basketball coach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with two NCAA tournament berths to her credit.

After front-office overhauls across the WNBA, the Sky are the last remaining team in the NBA or WNBA operating with a dual head coach/GM. Emre Vatansever holds the combined role now on an interim basis, having taken over following James Wade’s departure on July 1, but GM decisions are being handled collaboratively by the Sky’s upper management and ownership, Fox said.

“The decision on a general manager — how to and if to change the structure — is something that has been ongoing,” Fox said. “We are absolutely exploring all of our options.”

Vatansever, who has been open about focusing mostly on the coaching side, has made one decision in the GM capacity: releasing forward Kristine Anigwe from her hardship contract when Ruthy Hebard returned from maternity leave in July.

The Sky have given no indication that Vatansever, 6-12 since taking over for Wade, isn’t being considered to continue as coach with a clean slate. But it seems likely they would separate the roles in that case and hire a new GM.

Fox offered no timeline for when the Sky would like to have both roles filled.

“It’s more important that whatever decision we come to, whoever the person or people will be, that we do it thoughtfully and correctly,” he said.



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