Sky trade forward Gabby Williams to the Sparks


PALMETTO, FL – AUGUST 31: Gabby Williams #15 of the Chicago Sky shoots the ball against the Indiana Fever on August 31, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – It was an unusual week for the team and their 2018 first round draft pick, who was a consistent contributor in her first three WNBA seasons.

Forward Gabby Williams was surprisingly put on the Sky’s suspended list for the 2021 season on Thursday, with little explanation given by head coach and general manager James Wade on Friday.

Just a few days later, Williams’ tenure in Chicago officially came to an end.

Just after the conclusion of their first exhibition game with the Indiana Fever in Indianapolis, an 82-65 loss, the team announced that they’ve traded the forward to the Los Angeles Sparks. In return, the team acquires their first round draft pick guard Stephanie Watts along with the rights to forward and German national team member Leonie Fiebich.

“We thank Gabby for all that she has done in a Sky uniform and we wish her well going forward,”: said Wade in a release from the team. “We are excited about the possibilities that come with having Stephanie with us and what she will bring to our team. Her activity and skill set have already been displayed with LA early on.”

It’s an unceremonious end to Williams’ career after she was drafted fourth overall in the 2018 WNBA Draft by the Sky. She started 30 games in her first season under head coach Amber Stocks but transitioned to a role off the bench under Wade the last two seasons.

In the 2020 season in the Bradenton “bubble,” Williams averaged 7.7 points and four rebounds per game.

Williams figured to miss a significant portion of the 2021 season due to her committment to the French national team ahead of the summer Olympics. Still, she would have had time to take part in 12 games for the team after the conclusion of the WNBA’s break on August 15th, but the team opted to keep her on the suspended list.

By doing so, Williams’ salary wouldn’t have counted against the cap for the 2021 season.

Watts, the tenth-overall selection of the Sparks in this spring’s draft, comes to the Sky after spending most of her collegiate career at North Carolina with one season (2019-2020) being spent at Southern California. She averaged 12 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.1 assists for the Tar Heels this past season in 23 games.

Fiebach started her professional career in Germany at 16 years old and was selected in the second round by the Sparks in the 2020 WNBA Draft. She aided the German national team to a silver medal at the 2016 FIBA U-16 Women’s European Championship and the gold at the FIBA U-18 European Championship in 2018.

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