The Dallas Mavericks overhauled their front office and coaching personnel this offseason following another first-round playoff exit. On Thursday, the team added another respected voice to Jason Kidd’s new staff.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Mavericks will hire two-time WNBA champion Kristi Toliver as an assistant coach. The 34-year-old Toliver spent the last two seasons on the Washington Wizards coaching staff as an assistant under Scott Brooks.
While Toliver was beginning her career on the sidelines in the NBA, she continued to play at the highest level in the WNBA. She made her third All-Star team and won her second title with the Washington Mystics in 2019, while she was working for the Wizards. She became the first active WNBA player to hold a coaching position in the NBA when accepting the job in Washington in October of 2018.
It’s unclear if Toliver’s new position will impact her playing career in any way, as she remains a member of the Los Angeles Sparks in 2021. In 15 games with the team, she’s averaged 9.5 points and 2.7 assists per contest.
The Dallas Mavericks are hiring two-time WNBA champion Kristi Toliver as an assistant coach, sources tell ESPN. Toliver, who’s playing for the LA Sparks this season, spent parts of two seasons on the Wizards coaching staff.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 19, 2021
Toliver didn’t always have her sights set on coaching, but jumped at the opportunity to join the Wizards while playing for the Mystics. She only made $10,000 as an assistant coach in her NBA first season due to the WNBA’s previous collective-bargaining agreement, according to ESPN, but still approached the job eagerly.
The three-time WNBA All-Star began to question her decision over halfway through her first year as a coach, but the WNBA passed a new CBA in January of 2020 that allowed her to be paid fairly.
Toliver has become one of the most recent former WNBA stars to join the NBA’s coaching ranks. Talented players such as Becky Hammon, Teresa Weatherspoon and many more have thrived as assistants in the NBA, but no woman has landed a top coaching job just yet.
As she continues to move up the ranks, and with her impressive pedigree, Tolliver might be well on her way to an NBA head coaching gig.