After going the entire 2021 season without a general manager, the Atlanta Dream have finally addressed multiple vacancies in their front office. On Monday, the team announced that Dan Padover has been hired as general manager and vice president of basketball operations, while Darius Taylor will be assistant general manager.
Padover, who is the reigning back-to-back WNBA Executive of the Year, most recently worked with the Las Vegas Aces, helping turn the team into a contender with a number of high-profile trades and free agent signings. Prior to that, he worked for many years in the New York Liberty front office. Taylor has been with the Dream since 2017, serving primarily as an assistant coach before taking over as interim head coach to finish out last season.
"To build an organization from the ground up with new ownership and new leadership in a top-ten market like Atlanta is such a unique and exciting opportunity," Padover said. "My ultimate goal is to help create a model WNBA franchise and bring a championship to the city. Rebuilds don't happen overnight, but this organization is now uniquely positioned to create a winning culture."
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Padover has his work cut out for him, as he joins a franchise in disarray after a chaotic past 18 months. Three different people, including Taylor, served as head coach at one point last season, star guard Chennedy Carter sat out most of the season after being suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, Courtney Williams and Crystal Bradford were told they would not be re-signed after getting involved in a street fight outside a club and there is just one guaranteed contract on the books for 2022.
The positive spin is that the Dream are essentially a blank slate, which is part of the reason Padover took the job. His first order of business will be sorting out the Carter situation. The hope would be that with a new front office, new coaching staff and mostly new teammates, Carter would be ready to return and build on what had been a bright start to her career. If not, she's talented enough that Padover should be able to get a number of assets in return.
From there, it's on to the draft and free agency. The Dream are in the lottery once again and have the second-best odds at winning the No. 1 overall pick. They'll also have plenty of cap space for what is arguably the best free agent class in the history of the league.
Whether Padover succeeds in his new role won't be clear for some time, but this is an encouraging hire for the Dream. Padover is one of the best execs in the league and should bring some much-needed stability to the organization. Furthermore, he already has a working relationship with new head coach Tanisha Wright from their time with the Aces. There were some concerns about the Dream hiring a head coach before a GM, but they're mostly allayed by the fact that Padover and Wright should be on the same page.