Nuggets add WNBA star Sue Bird to front office staff

Yahoo Sports Contributor
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The <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/den" data-ylk="slk:Denver Nuggets">Denver Nuggets</a> added WNBA veteran <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/wnba/players/500/" data-ylk="slk:Sue Bird">Sue Bird</a> to their front office staff on Friday. (Catherine Steenkeste/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Denver Nuggets added WNBA veteran Sue Bird to their front office staff on Friday. (Catherine Steenkeste/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Denver Nuggets have added WNBA veteran Sue Bird to their front office staff, the team announced on Friday.

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Bird, who just finished her 16th season in the WNBA where she led the Seattle Storm to their third WNBA Championship, still plans to return for a 17th season in the WNBA this summer. Bird will be a basketball operation associate in Denver.

“We are very excited to have Sue join our organization,” Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said in a statement. “Her resume certainly speaks for itself and as a still active player she will offer an extremely unique perspective.”

The 38-year-old is an 11-time WNBA All-Star, and ranks first in the WNBA in career games, career minutes played and in assists. The former No. 1 overall draft pick and four-time Olympian was spotted meeting with the Nuggets’ staff in October, and reportedly has been in talks with the team for at least two months.

“It was really a perfect match, because here they are giving me this amazing opportunity but also understanding that I’m still a player,” Bird told ESPN. “I still have a season and I’m still preparing for that. It’s just, for me personally, the best of both worlds.”

Bird is the latest WNBA player to make the jump to the NBA in recent years. Becky Hammon became the first full-time female assistant coach in 2014 when she joined the San Antonio Spurs. Hammon also interviewed with the Milwaukee Bucks head coaching job earlier this year.

Kristi Toliver joined the Washington Wizards staff earlier this year, too, and Nancy Lieberman was hired by the Sacramento Kings as an assistant in 2015.

While the job with the Nuggets seems to work perfectly with her playing schedule, Bird said she’s also incredibly impressed with how the team is set up. It reminds her a lot of the Storm.

“I just think what they have going is really exciting to be a part of,” Bird told ESPN. “It’s somewhat reminiscent to what I’ve actually gone through first-hand in the last couple years. The Storm was rebuilding. Not that Denver was rebuilding, but all of a sudden you blink and a couple of years go by, you’ve got this great young core, talented group that’s trying to make noise. With that, you’ve got that elder player. Obviously that was me for the Storm. For Denver, it’s Paul [Millsap].

“It’s fun to be part of something that’s on the verge of breakthrough. That’s kind of how I view the Nuggets. There’s going to be ups and downs, like every season, but that’s how I view them. It’s exciting.”

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