Washington Wizards assistant coach Kristi Toliver’s salary dwarfs fellow assistants around the league and she’s got the WNBA to thank.
The New York Times reports Toliver is earning just $10,000 for her duties in Washington, due to a WNBA rule which caps teams offseason work at $50,000. Since the Washington Mystics, Toliver’s WNBA team, allocate a large chunk of that $50k to Elena Della Donne, Toliver’s salary can only take up the remaining amount.
It’s a bizarre cap for a league that’s already underpaying players. However, Toliver is thankful for the opportunity.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Toliver said. “For me, I looked at the pros and the cons, the pros obviously being I get to rest my body, it being my first time in 10 years of not playing year-round, not going overseas. Obviously there are financial burdens that come with that, but this is also a very exciting opportunity that I want to take advantage of, being home, still being around the game, around the best players in the world, around the best coaches in the world.”
Good on Toliver for taking advantage of the chance to coach in the NBA, but the WNBA needs to fix this situation immediately. A $50,000 cap holds back potential financial opportunities. It’s unfair and outdated. Hopefully, Toliver’s situation will cause the league to examine the cap and abolish it for good.