Sky failed to make a splash on opening day of free agency


Wednesday was the first day a WNBA free agent could sign a team, and news of the high-profile signing made headlines across the league.

But not Chicago. Only silence emanated from Sky’s front office.

The only announcement on Sky confirmed the player’s departure.

Candace Parker’s one-year deal with the Las Vegas Aces has officially been announced for $100,000, well below her market value. Breanna Stewart, meanwhile, has announced her intention to sign with the New York Liberty.

On Tuesday night, Courtney Vandersloot shared a letter detailing plans to sign at another location. Reports circulated that Vanderthroat would sign with the Seattle Storm, but according to her agent, Lindsay Kagawa Chorus, they were false.

The final exit was that of Vanderthroat’s wife, Allie Quigley. A league source confirmed to The Sun-Times that Quigley has not retired, but she has chosen not to play in her 15th season in the league.

Just over 15 months after celebrating one of the most historic days in franchise history, the sun has set on one of Skye’s worst. Wednesday was a complete failure as Sky failed to take a legitimate step towards future success.

The loss of Parker, Vanderslaught and Azra Stevens, who may have yet to announce a decision, is a huge setback. This is the beginning of a rebuild, and as Sky has experienced in the past, it’s not easy to achieve in this league.

Sky missed the playoffs for the second straight season after Silvia Fowles and Elena Delle Donne were forced to trade two years apart. The next two seasons they lost in the first and second rounds.

But the situation is even more dire because these rebuilds included two players who commanded fan adoration during their tenure.

Over the past two seasons, Sky has begun to tap into their star power. After struggling to establish any kind of foothold in Chicago in his 15-year history, 2021 marked his turning point. Despite restrictions due to COVID-19, the franchise recorded his second-highest attendance in the league in 2021, according to Across The Timeline. They played in the final against Phoenix Mercury against Wintrust in front of a packed crowd in his arena. In 2022, he increased his fans per game by 7,180, but fell to fourth in the league behind Seattle, Phoenix and Minnesota.

In 2011, when Vanderslaught made their first season at Sky, their average attendance was the second worst in the league.During the two seasons Fowles and Delle Donne shared the court, their attendance was ninth. improved to After drafting Diamond DeShields and Gabby Williams in 2018, he jumped to No. 6.

The point is, if there are no stars, there are no fans.

Sky coach and general manager James Wade’s most significant move during free agency last year was securing Kalia Copper on a two-year deal. After losing Parker, the face of the league, and Vanderslaught, arguably the most important player to wear a Sky uniform, Copper shoulders the burden of keeping the franchise relevant in Chicago and the league in 2023. owe

She will be joined by Dana Evans.

Copper’s run across the league was evident, as he was named the 2021 WNBA Finals MVP and was nominated for back-to-back All-Stars the past two seasons. Evans, on the other hand, has become a fan favorite despite his limited roles. Her potential star Her power came from Wintrust when fans in her arena exploded with chants asking Wade to “put Dana in” during the final minutes of her Game 5 semifinal loss. Proven. These chants were repeated multiple times at Wintrust Her arena during her 2022 season.

It remains to be seen how Wade will fill out the roster next season, but the flashiest move he can make at this point is to re-sign Stevens.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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