NBA 2022: Liz Cambage takes on WNBA pay disparity, Las Vegas Ace, coach Becky Hammon
Liz Cambage is never short of opinion and she drew a strong backlash after criticizing a decision by her own WNBA team.
Australian basketball star Liz Cambage has slammed the WNBA’s salary structure after it emerged a coach would earn four times as much as the league’s highest-paid player.
The Las Vegas Aces, the team Cambage plays for, announced they had recruited Becky Hammon as their new head coach, the debauchery of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, where she had served as an assistant under legendary coach Gregg Popovich. .
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Reports suggest Hammon will earn US$1 million (A$1.4 million) as Aces coach, making her the highest paid person in the league.
While Hammon’s salary will be paid for by Aces owner Mark Davis, it has highlighted the disparity between coaching and player earnings in the WNBA.
WNBA super-max contract players include Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi and Seattle’s Breanna Stewart, who earn US$228,000 (AU$320,000) per season.
The WNBA’s salary cap for the upcoming season is $1,379,200, while there is no salary cap for coaches and executives.
Cambage, who was paid $221,000 last season for the Aces, took to social media on Wednesday to call out the huge gap between players’ and coaches’ earnings.
She tweeted: “ahhh yes the @WNBA, where a head coach can be paid 4X the super max contract of the highest paid players.
“Lmao and you all think I’m going to spend another season upgrading my seat on a flight so I can watch games out of my own pocket.”
Cambage also shared his frustration that the WNBA does not charter flights to games, which means teams are often split on different flights and big players have to shell out for a seat upgrade.
The four-time All-Star has sparked a lot of debate, with many saying the problem to be solved isn’t Hammon herself making the big bucks, but rather the WNBA’s inadequate collective bargaining agreement.
In response to Cambage’s tweet, respected basketball journalist Holly Rowe said, “Put some respect on the name Becky Hammon.”
Pundits have defended Cambage for making valid criticism of the WNBA’s compensation system.
SB Nation’s Brad Klopfer tweeted: “I think Liz Cambage’s tweet is pretty clearly a jab at the league not Becky Hammon and I think it’s pretty ridiculous that it’s interpreted as anything other than that.
“(Aces owner) Marc Davis is willing to shell out big bucks to gain a competitive edge with a coach. ‘Give him the same opportunity with the players.’
Sports presenter Chris Williamson said: “If Sue Bird or Diana Taurasi said the exact same statement as Liz Cambage, some influencers would sound WAYYY different.”
Cambage may have burned bridges with the Aces, where she played two seasons, and will likely move to another team in the offseason.
The 30-year-old is an unrestricted free agent and is one of the biggest names likely to be traded during the free agency period, which began earlier this week.
Cambage’s career focus in the WNBA after she controversially pulled out of the Opals’ Tokyo Olympics campaign and said she had no interest in representing Australia at the World Cup FIBA of this year in Sydney.