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Hammon open to returning to WNBA as coach: 'Don't be surprised'

Michael Gonzales / National Basketball Association / Getty

As Becky Hammon's search for her first full-time head coaching role continues, the San Antonio Spurs assistant says she won't rule out a return to the WNBA, where she helped popularize the league as a six-time All-Star over 16 seasons.

"I've never closed the door on coming back to the women ... How could I? That's my heart, that's my roots," Hammon told Hudl's LaChina Robinson. "So I never close the door on any opportunity. If I went back to the WNBA, don't blink because I don't look at it as a step back."

The league currently has two coaching vacancies: The Phoenix Mercury, fresh off a Finals appearance, and the New York Liberty, with whom Hammon played from 1999-2006.

Following a trade from the Liberty, Hammon played another eight campaigns with the San Antonio Stars (now the Las Vegas Aces). Hammon was named to "The W25" this past summer as one of the top 25 players in WNBA history.

The 44-year-old's stature as a potential head coach substantially increased when she retired from playing and joined Gregg Popovich's Spurs staff in 2014, evolving into one of the legendary bench boss' top lieutenants. Hammon became the first female acting head coach in NBA history upon Popovich's ejection from a game last December.

The Portland Trail Blazers reportedly also listed Hammon as a finalist for their coaching vacancy over the summer but hired fellow former star guard Chauncey Billups instead.

While Hammon's coaching history has been strictly on the men's side, she doesn't think she would have any issue readjusting to the WNBA's style of play.

"It's a change of direction, it's a pivot, but it's basketball. I'm telling you, it's the same stuff," she said.

"It's pick-and-rolls, it's defense. The basketball is pretty much the same except for, like, dunks. Other than that, it's very similar. It's basketball. The basket is 10 (feet from the floor). There's five players on each team, and we go out and get after it. Yeah, so, don't be surprised."

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