Mavericks Hiring LA Sparks' Kristi Toliver As Assistant Coach

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 19, 2021

Los Angeles Sparks guard Kristi Toliver (20) controls the ball during a WNBA basketball game against the Dallas Wings Friday, May 14, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

The Dallas Mavericks are hiring Los Angeles Sparks star Kristi Toliver as an assistant coach, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

In addition to a prolific playing career in the WNBA, the three-time All-Star began working as an assistant with the Washington Wizards in October 2018.

The Mavericks are preparing for their first season with Jason Kidd at the helm. As part of the turnover in their staff, they saw former WNBA head coach Jenny Boucek follow Rick Carlisle to the Indiana Pacers.

Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday that Dallas had interviewed at least two female assistant coaching candidates and "would prefer to go that direction if the right candidate is found."

It's unclear when Toliver plans to retire, and she's signed with the Sparks through the 2022 season. That hasn't stopped the 34-year-old from planning for her next steps, as she told the Washington Post's Kendra Andrews in July 2018.

"Coaching has always been on my radar just because I want to stay involved in the game. I know that I love the NBA; I grew up around the NBA. So, now as I’m getting older ... it’s like, ‘Okay, let me see if coaching is what I want to pursue.’ And it is — 1,000 percent. It would be a dream."

Toliver's juggling of her WNBA and NBA duties led to some scrutiny after the New York Times' Howard Megdal reported in December 2018 she was only earning $10,000 from the Wizards, well below the typical salary for an assistant coach. The WNBA's new collective bargaining agreement enabled her to earn a more market-level salary.

Depending on the arc of her coaching career, Toliver could potentially make history. No NBA team has ever hired a female head coach as of yet.

Most recently, San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon was a finalist for the Portland Trail Blazers before they hired Chauncey Billups.


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