Hamby details wave of emotions since Aces-to-Sparks trade

ByM.A. Voepel ESPN logo
Thursday, February 2, 2023

Dearica Hamby said Wednesday she is still processing last month's trade that sent her from the Las Vegas Aces to the Los Angeles Sparks and thinks the WNBA will hold her former team accountable for what she termed "unethical" behavior.

Hamby is due to give birth to a son in March. In an Instagram post Jan. 21, when the trade was announced, she wrote: "I have had my character and work ethic attacked. I was promised things to entice me to sign my contract extension that were not followed through on. I was accused of signing my extension knowingly pregnant. This is false."

Hamby was asked about the post in a video call with the media Wednesday.

"I'm processing it, dealing with the waves of the emotions, but kind of putting my son first and trying to remind myself that I have to stay healthy and not be too stressed out," she said. "A couple of weeks ago, my blood pressure was through the roof. So just trying to remain calm for him. And just make sure he gets here, and then I'll kind of deal with the aftermath and everything else after.

"It's kind of like if that can happen to me, that can happen to anybody. And I'm confident that people, the person, that said these things will be held accountable. And that the league will do the right thing."

The Aces have not commented publicly on Hamby's allegations. The Women's National Basketball Players Association released a statement at the time indicating it would review the situation and seek an investigation, but it hasn't further commented.

"I'm not really going to speak too much about the situation and what was said and things that were done," Hamby said.

Asked if she was considering any legal action, she added: "There's a process that has to happen. For now, I'm going to leave it with what I said in my statement and the [WNBPA] is doing their part right now. And then we'll see."

Hamby was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2015 WNBA draft by San Antonio, which moved to Las Vegas to become the Aces three years later. She was the WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year in 2019 and '20, and was part of the Aces' 2022 championship team. However, she had limited playing time that postseason because of injury, averaging just 8.5 minutes in six games. At the Aces' championship parade, she announced she was pregnant with her second child.

Hamby had signed a two-year contract extension with the Aces in June 2022.

In January, Las Vegas traded Hamby and a 2024 first-round pick to the Sparks for a 2024 second-rounder and the negotiating rights to center Amanda Zahui B. The Aces have subsequently signed free agents Candace Parker, Alysha Clark and Cayla George.

"Initially, a lot of sadness. But moving forward on the basketball side of things with the Sparks and I'm looking forward to it," Hamby said. "They were the only team that I spoke to when I spoke to Vegas, and they said they were trading me. They mentioned LA, and I said, 'OK, I would talk to LA.' I didn't really talk to anybody else."

Also Wednesday, the Sparks signed free agent forward Stephanie Talbot and brought back free agent guard Lexie Brown. Los Angeles also acquired veteran guard Jasmine Thomas in a January trade and expect to bring back longtime face of the franchise Nneka Ogwumike, the 2016 league MVP, who is a free agent.

Hamby said she is excited to play alongside Ogwumike in Los Angeles.

She also said she appreciated the support she received from Las Vegas fans, and that she hopes they continue to cheer on the Aces.

"It's not Candace's fault, it's not A'ja's [Wilson] or Chelsea's [Gray] fault," Hamby said. "And so continue to support them. Yeah, I'm going to miss them. I know that when I come back to play in Vegas that I'll probably cry, and it will be probably a very pivotal moment in my life. But I'm looking forward to meeting the new fans in LA."

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