WNBA coaching candidates - Who could be the next coach of the New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury?

The time is 11:45 PM.

There were two head coaching vacancies on Monday in the WNBA. The New York Liberty's head coach, Walt Hopkins, was let go after two seasons. The Phoenix Mercury decided to part ways with Sandy Brondello a few hours later, despite her having just led her team to the finals.

The Liberty finished the season with a 12-20 record and were the last team to make the playoffs. There are some good building blocks to work with in New York, including forwards and rookies Michaela Onyenwere and Betnijah Laney, and guard Sabrina Ionescu.

The Liberty and Mercury are the original WNBA teams. The Brooklyn Nets are under the ownership of Joseph Tsai, who hired Anthony Hopkins in January 2020. New York has never won a title.

The most recent title for the Phoenix Mercury was won in 2014, it was the first season for coach Brondello. She led Phoenix to the playoffs in all eight of her seasons, but with Diana Taurasi and other older players, a window is closing. The Mercury lost to the Sky in the finals.

The Atlanta Dream have a new head coach in Tanisha Wright, who was an assistant with the Las Vegas Aces. What will the Liberty and Mercury be looking for? We looked at some possible candidates.

New York Liberty.

The most popular player in franchise history is Teresa Weatherspoon, the former Liberty guard. She is now an assistant coach with the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans, after working for the Liberty in a coaching and front office capacity.

The Hall of Famer was the head coach at Louisiana Tech from 2009 to 2014, going 99-71. Louisiana Tech won the 1988 national championship under Weatherspoon's leadership.

Liberty fans would be very enthusiastic about Weatherspoon returning to the WNBA, it would seem like the perfect fit for her.

Sandy Brondello might not be out of a job long. She has a history of developing talent and has a lot of playoff experience, which is what New York is looking for. The Liberty has a connection with the Australian national team, as well as with Rebecca Allen, who is on New York's roster.

When Mike Thibault was the coach of Connecticut, he was snapped up by the Washington Mystics. That paid off with the title. Maybe a similar thing will happen with the Liberty.

Sue Bird has said she will make a decision on her future in the next few months.

Sue Bird has not announced her retirement as a player, so we are taking a flyer here. Seattle is as much home to Bird as New York is to her. She is from Long Island. The first pro basketball title for the Big Apple since the Knicks won the 1973 NBA championship might be appealing.

Bird has never been a coach, but the point guard has been the ultimate coach on the floor.

San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon is one of the top women candidates to become an NBA head coach. She played in New York for eight years.

We're taking another person because of the fact that the San Antonio Spurs assistant has said she wants to be an NBA head coach. In her eighth season with the Spurs, Hammon's salary is estimated in the $750,000 range, more than twice what some of the other coaches in the league make.

The Liberty might not be able to lure her. Like Weatherspoon, Hammon was a popular player with the Liberty from 1999 to 2006 before being traded to San Antonio. It seems like a long shot, but if any franchise could get Hammon, it would have to be New York.

The Phoenix Mercury.

Lindsey is an assistant coach for the Kings.

Agler won titles with Seattle and Los Angeles. He was the coach of the Dallas Wings in 2019. Agler is in college athletic administration at his alma mater, but he hasn't closed the door on returning to coaching.

The former Sky and Indiana Fever coach has a lot of experience both in the WNBA and overseas. One of the things she hasn't yet achieved is a title, and this would give her a chance to do that.

Lindsey is an assistant coach with the NBA's Sacramento Kings. She might be interested in becoming a head coach.

Latricia Trammell is an assistant to the Los Angeles Sparks. She was an assistant in the NBA in San Antonio, and before that she was a head coach and assistant at the college and high school levels. She was the head coach of Oklahoma City for two years.