Atlanta Dream continue to rebuild: hire Aces exec Dan Padover as GM, name Darius Taylor assistant GM

Dan Padover, the WNBA's executive-of-the year for Las Vegas for the past two seasons, will be leaving the Aces in order to become the general manager of Atlanta Dream. This is the latest move in a series of actions Atlanta has taken to rebuild its franchise since February's purchase by new owners.
Padover described the role in Atlanta as "a basketball purist’s dream". "You are building in every way possible: through the draft and free agency, as well as from a leadership perspective. You can get in the profession for any reason.

On Sept. 8, the Dream announced Morgan Shaw Parker as its new president and chief operating officers, and Tanisha Wright, as their new head coach, on October 12. Wright, who has played 14 seasons in WNBA, comes from Las Vegas where she was assistant for the past two years.

Darius Taylor, the Dream's interim head Coach since July 24, will now be assistant general manager. This was announced along with Padover’s hiring.

Padover is a native of New Jersey and a UConn graduate. He was appointed GM of basketball operations by the Aces in December 2018. This came after the franchise moved from San Antonio, Texas to Las Vegas. He was a former coach for the New York Liberty and worked in Las Vegas with Bill Laimbeer.

The Aces went 14-20 in their first season. They have been a combined 63-25 in the last three seasons, with one appearance at the WNBA Finals and two more in the semifinals. In contrast, the Dream are 23-65 and have missed the playoffs in four of their five seasons.

Padover stated that he would have liked for the Aces to win a WNBA championship during his tenure but that he was ready to take on a new challenge. He acknowledged that Laimbeer is one of his most important mentors and understood why.

"He kind of said to him, 'This your next step. Although we're now competitors, if you ever have a question, Padover stated that he was available to help. The job will be very similar to the one I did for the Aces. From a personnel perspective, there was nothing I wanted in Vegas that I wasn’t able do. However, I believe the Dream can have a greater impact than I could imagine.

Atlanta was established in 2008 as an expansion franchise. It has been to the WNBA Finals 3 times and five other playoff appearances. The organization has experienced a lot turmoil in the last two years.

In 2011, Mary Brock and Kelly Loeffler, the ownership duo, took over the franchise. After Loeffler's opposition to the league’s racial justice initiatives angered WNBA players, Loeffler was forced to sell her stake.

Larry Gottesdiener, a real estate investor, became the majority owner of Dream in February with an investor group that also includes Suzanne Abair (president of Northland Investment Corp.), which Gottesdiener established, and Renee Montgomery, former WNBA player.

Chris Sienko, Dream's GM, was fired in April. In May, Coach Nicki Collen resigned to take over Baylor's women's program. Mike Petersen, her assistant, was appointed interim coach, but he left in July due to health reasons.

In July, Chennedy Carter was also selected at No. The Dream suspended Chennedy Carter, a guard selected at No. 4 in the 2020 draft for "conduct detrimentally to the team", and he did not play the remainder of the 2021 season. Crystal Bradford and Courtney Williams, the agent representing players, said earlier this month that he was told by the Dream they wouldn't be bringing them back next season due to their May fight. Montgomery said that the Dream weren't aware of the extent of the fight until recent times.

Padover confirmed that Williams and Bradford will be leaving the Dream. Carter said that he would reach out to Carter and Chennedy to discuss the structure of their roster.

Shaw Parker stated that Padover's success and experience made him an ideal candidate for the Dream's vision of remaking the franchise.

She stated, "It's all about stability and accountability, building trust." "With our fans and players as well as our associates. This is a new leadership team and I believe it's an innovative, proactive way to build a front office. We are being entrusted by the owners to ensure that the basketball and business components are connected from the beginning.

Padover stated that the goal was to make Atlanta a "destination team" for free agents. Although the WNBA does not officially announce free agents until January of each year, Her Hoops Stats shows that six unrestricted, unrestricted agents were on the Dream roster at the season's conclusion. This includes guard Tiffany Hayes who has been in Atlanta for all nine seasons.

Padover stated, "Everybody can see whom we have under contract; it is not a lot." "They can also see the new infrastructure that we are putting in, which is quite a bit."

Wright will be his first experience as a head coach. Padover stated that Wright, Taylor, and he will likely have many discussions about personnel.

Padover stated that Tanisha is competitive, but also knows this is not going to be an instant fix. We have to make responsible decisions regarding the draft, free agency, and managing our salary cap. We want this to be a long-lasting franchise that can compete in multiple championships.