Report: Sparks' Kristi Toliver joins Mavericks as assistant coach

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Los Angeles Sparks veteran Kristi Toliver is joining the Dallas Mavericks staff as an assistant coach, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported. 

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Toliver, 34, spent two seasons on the Washington Wizards coaching staff, where her presence prompted a change in the WNBA's collective bargaining agreement. The "Toliver Provision" changed a competitive fairness rule embedded in the last CBA that inadvertently resulted in low pay for WNBA players serving as assistant coaches. 

She has spoken previously of wanting to pursue coaching and now will join Jason Kidd's staff in Texas. The Mavericks lost to the Clippers in the first round of the 2021 playoffs.

Toliver playing out 2021 Sparks season

Kristi Toliver
Kristi Toliver will coach with the Dallas Mavericks this Sparks offseason. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

The 12th-year veteran is a two-time WNBA champion, four-time Russian National League champion, two-time EuroLeague champion and NCAA champion with Maryland. She won the title with the Sparks in 2016 and shortly afterward left to join the Washington Mystics. 

The franchise won its first title in 2019, and she returned to Los Angeles. Toliver sat out the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In 15 games with the Sparks this season, she's averaging 9.5 points and 2.7 assists in 27.7 minutes. The point guard returned from an eye injury following the Olympic break and sent the Sparks (8-13) into overtime, where they won in a return to Staples Center. 

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Los Angeles is currently out of a playoff spot at 10th, but trails eighth-place Dallas by one game. The middle of the WNBA standings are packed; the top eight teams advance to the postseason that begins Sept. 23. NBA preseason games begin at the start of October. 

She was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 draft, named the 2012 Most Improved Player and was named to three All-Star teams. In her career she's averaged 12.2 points and 3.5 assists per game.

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