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WNBA training camp tracker: Sparks trade Sydney Wiese to Mystics

·10-min read

Welcome to the Yahoo Sports 2021 WNBA training camp tracker. Preseason games will be held May 1-11 with rosters finalized on May 13. Keep up with the league’s latest news before the tipoff of the 25th anniversary season on May 14.

Mystics acquire Sydney Wiese from Sparks

As rosters are finalized before the start of the 2021 season, the Los Angeles Sparks traded Sydney Wiese to the Washington Mystics for a 2022 second-round pick, the teams announced Thursday.

Wiese was the 11th pick in the 2017 draft and averaged 3.9 points per game over four seasons in Los Angeles. She is a career 39.5% shooter from behind the 3-point arc. 

“Sydney Wiese has been an incredible teammate and member of the Sparks organization since 2017,” Sparks general manager and head coach Derek Fisher said in a release. “Her contributions on and off the court made a mark on the Los Angeles community. We wish her nothing but the best in her next chapter.”

Wings: Arike Ogunbowale back in camp

Arike Ogunbowale is back practicing with Dallas Wings on Monday after returning from her overseas season with Dynamo Kursk in Russia. Ogunbowale's side lost to UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian Premier League final late last month.

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Ogunbowale led the league in scoring in 2020 at 22.8 points per game. It was her second season out of Notre Dame. 

While the Wings got their star guard back in camp, their star forward is still overseas. The Wings placed Satou Sabally on the temporarily suspended list. It clears her roster spot since the season begins Friday, though it does not clear her salary hit against the cap. When she is available, she'll be reinstated. 

In other team moves on Monday, the Mystics waived Aislin Konig and Pre Stanley. The Sky waived Sierra Campisano, Jessica January and Sparkle Taylor a day after trading Gabby Williams to the Sparks for Stephanie Watts, the No.1 overall pick in the draft, and Leonie Fiebich. Williams is still suspended for the season after the Sky put her on the list last week. 

Wade: Gabby Williams asked for trade in April

Chicago Sky general manager and head coach James Wade said Monday that former Sky wing Gabby Williams requested a trade in April, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Williams was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday, less than a week after the Sky placed her on the full-season suspended list due to her French national team commitments. She will remain on the list with the Sparks and will not play in the WNBA this season.

“I was told that she would never play for Chicago again,” Wade told reporters on Monday, via the Sun Times.

The Sky have two other players with national team commitments (Stefanie Dolson, USA; and Astou Ndour, Spain). Dolson will be with Team USA until mid-June, then Ndour will play for Spain in the Women’s EuroBasket 2021 qualifying tournament.

From the Sun-Times:

Wade said it was communicated with Williams’ team that he would be placing her on the full-season suspended list if she was unable to begin the season with the Sky. ...

Wade said he requested that Williams return to the Sky in a similar capacity that Ndour was. He wanted her to participate in training camp and leave in June to compete with the French National Team in EuroBasket.

“She didn’t want to do that,” Wade said.

Chicago Sky forward Gabby Williams brings the ball up the court during the first half of a WNBA game against the New York Liberty on Aug. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Chicago Sky forward Gabby Williams brings the ball up the court during the first half of a WNBA game against the New York Liberty on Aug. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Sky place Gabby Williams on full-season suspended list 

UPDATE: Gabby Williams was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday, but will remain on the suspended list.

The Chicago Sky reportedly placed Gabby Williams on the full-season suspended list Thursday, according to Winsidr’s Rachel Galligan

Williams recently finished an overseas season with Sopron Basket in Hungary. She is part of the French national team’s preliminary roster for the Women’s EuroBasket 2021 qualifying tournament ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. It was not clear if she planned to play in the WNBA this season.

Williams’ name was floated in trade rumors ahead of the 2021 WNBA draft, but no deal was completed. Instead, the Sky selected Australian point guard Shyla Heal at No. 8.

Williams played three seasons for the Sky as a backup point guard, averaging 6.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. The move to the suspended list means that the Sky retain Williams’ rights although she will not play this season.

It likely opens a roster spot for a training camp player. Guard Lexie Brown is in camp after being released by the Minnesota Lynx.

After the news was announced, Williams tweeted this emoji:

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Elena Delle Donne may be unavailable to start season 

The Washington Mystics Elena Delle Donne is still not working in group drills and may not be available to start the season, head coach Mike Thibault said on Sunday. 

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Thibault said at the beginning of camp the 2019 MVP would spent the first 7 to 10 days of training camp working individually, a window the team is still inside, but he added they felt "reasonably confident" she would play some minutes in the season opener. 

Delle Donne, 31, did not play in 2020 out of personal health concerns given the COVID-19 pandemic and while still rehabbing from back surgery. She led the Mystics to the 2019 title with multiple herniated discs in her back. 

The veteran said on the first day of media availability at camp that she has to learn how to do certain motor functions in different ways. Thibault said she will be on a minutes restriction when she does return. 

Lynx rookie Rennia Davis out indefinitely 

One of the most exciting rookie prospects will be out indefinitely this season. Minnesota Lynx forward Rennia Davis has a stress fracture in her left foot, the team announced May 1

Davis was the ninth pick in the 2021 draft out of Tennessee. She averaged 15.4 ppg, eight rpg and two apg in 31.4 mpg over four seasons for the Lady Vols. She had 39 double-doubles in her collegiate career, good for fourth all-time in school history.

The 6-foot-2 forward finished her Tennessee career in the top 10 for points, points per game, rebounds and rebounds per game. Three other players have previously accomplished that feat — Chamique Holdsclaw, Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker, who each won Rookie of the Year in the WNBA.

Davis also was getting buzz as a frontrunner for the award after being selected by the Lynx.

The Lynx have a long history of producing Rookies of the Year with Crystal Dangerfield winning the award last season after Napheesa Collier (2019), Maya Moore (2011), Seimone Augustus (2006) and Betty Lennox (2000).

Rennia Davis with the ball in her hand dribbling.
Rennia Davis finished her Tennessee career in the top 10 for points, points per game, rebounds and rebounds per game. She is out indefinitely of her rookie season with the Minnesota Lynx with a stress fracture in her foot. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Diamond DeShields in good spot for Sky after injury

Diamond DeShields is a key part to the Chicago Sky's future and their immediate title chances now that forward Candace Parker is in the mix. DeShields was slowed by an injury in the WNBA bubble and eventually left Florida, but is "back to where we need her to be," Sky coach James Wade said on Friday. 

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Wade said the fourth-year guard is working well with Parker and will not be on a minutes restriction when the season begins. DeShields, 26, was the Sky's leading scorer in 2019 but was hampered by a knee injury when she entered the bubble season. After 13 games, none of which she started, DeShields left the bubble for "personal reasons" following a right thigh injury.

Azurá Stevens, who landed in Chicago by a 2020 trade from the Dallas Wings, also left the bubble due to a osteochondral defect in her left knee. The Sky will manage the fourth-year forward's minutes. 

Tina Charles 'fluid as anybody' and ready for Mystics 

Tina Charles is in Washington Mystics camp for the first time after the bombshell pre-draft trade that brought the star veteran over from the New York Liberty. 

Mystics head coach Eric Thibault told media on Friday that Charles looks good in practice and is "as fluid as anybody" from 3-point range.

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Charles, the league's 2012 MVP and a seven-time All-Star, averages 18.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game over her career. She rarely shoots from deep, but when she did with the Liberty she was a 34% shooter from 3. 

Asia Durr continues to work back from COVID-19

New York Liberty guard Asia Durr is unlikely to return this season after she missed the 2020 "wubble" season dealing with COVID-19. She tested positive for the virus on June 8 and continued to experience "long hauler" symptoms months after the initial diagnosis.

Liberty coach Walt Hopkins said Monday that Durr is "still battling so much" and there is a "low probability" that she will play this season.

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The No. 2 pick of the 2019 draft was included on the Liberty's training camp roster. Final rosters will be determined by May 13.

In January, Durr appeared on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” to talk about her experience. 

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Report: Liberty sign Rebecca Allen to 1-year deal

After opting out of the 2020 season, guard Rebecca Allen and the New York Liberty agreed to a 1-year deal reportedly worth the team's remaining cap space, according to Richard Cohen of Her Hoops Stats.

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Allen is a 40.6% career shooter in five seasons with the Liberty. The Australia native also competes for Valencia Basket Club, which won the Spanish women's league title over Reyer Venezia on April 11. 

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