Dawn Staley a ‘top head coaching candidate’ for NBA opening, report says

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South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley is being targeted to possibly fill an NBA coaching vacancy, according to one prominent league insider.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania, citing league sources, tweeted a list of the “top head coaching candidates” for the open Portland Trail Blazers job, with Staley among the group. Others include San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, Los Anggeles Clippers assistant coach Chauncey Billups, Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Mike D’Antoni and Spurs vice president of basketball operations Brent Barry.

Portland fired coach Terry Stotts last week.

This isn’t the first time Staley’s name has been mentioned with a possible NBA job. Her name was mentioned over the fall with her hometown Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers ended up hiring Doc Rivers.

Staley was asked about possibly coaching men’s college basketball or in the NBA when she met with reporters in April.

“No ounce of me really wants to coach outside of college,” Staley told reporters via videoconference. “I don’t know why my level of interest has never been to coach in the WNBA, NBA or coach on the men’s (college) side. I don’t know why my competitiveness won’t allow me to go there. Maybe because I think there’s too much work to be done in our game. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in women’s basketball.”

Staley has built South Carolina women’s program into a women’s powerhouse, winning the national championship in 2017 and leading the Gamecocks to two other Final Four appearances, including this past season. USC has won five regular season Southeastern Conference championships and six tournament championships.

Staley, Naismith Hall of Fame inductee, is also the coach for USA women’s national team. The USA team is playing in a qualifying tournament and played Dominican Republic on Saturday.

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