Last week, restricted free agent Astou Ndour made it clear she wanted to stay with the Sky and play for general manager and coach James Wade, whom she credits for giving her an opportunity in the WNBA.
But the Sky had other plans.
The Sky on Tuesday matched Ndour’s three-year offer sheet from the Atlanta Dream, then sent her south in a sign-and-trade deal with the Dallas Wings, a source confirmed to the Sun-Times.
It was the Sky’s first move since free agency began Monday, but it won’t be their last. As of now, the Sky have five players under contract for next season, with All-Stars Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley still on the market.
In return, the Sky received a 2021 first-round pick, a source said.
Ndour, who returned to Euroleague play last month after having surgery Oct. 11 to repair a torn meniscus, established herself as a high-ceiling frontcourt player last season, her fourth in the WNBA. After a slow start, Ndour left the Sky for more than a month to represent Spain’s national team in the EuroBasket tournament.
During her time away, Ndour found her groove and was named the most valuable player of the tournament.
Upon returning to Chicago, Ndour turned heads during the second half of the season after replacing power forward Jantel Lavender, who went down with a season-ending foot injury, in the starting lineup.
In 11 regular-season starts, Ndour — whom the Stars selected 16th overall in the 2014 WNBA Draft — averaged 10.7 points (on 50 percent shooting) and 7.1 rebounds, a major improvement from the 2.5 points and one rebound she averaged in 10 games off the bench.
Ndour also played an important part in the Sky’s two playoff games, averaging 16.5 points — second to only guard Diamond DeShields — and a team-leading 8.5 rebounds.