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Sky end free agency with a bang, re-signing All-Star Courtney Vandersloot to multiyear deal

Asked last week if she planned to return to the Sky in 2020, Vandersloot tweeted “absolutely.”

Courtney Vandersloot has made her intentions to stay in Chicago clear.
Courtney Vandersloot has made her intentions to stay in Chicago clear.
AP

The Sky concluded their major offseason moves this week with the highly anticipated re-signing of a franchise cornerstone.

Point guard Courtney Vandersloot will return to the team on a multiyear deal, the Sky announced Tuesday. Terms of her contract weren’t disclosed.

Asked if she planned to return to the Sky in 2020, Vandersloot tweeted “absolutely.” She also pledged her loyalty to the team numerous times over the last seven months.

“I’ve always envied people who stay with one franchise their whole career,” Vandersloot said in August. “For now, I’m Chicago for life.”

Vandersloot has been through a lot with the Sky since they drafted her third overall in 2011. She has outlasted three general manager and coaching changes and the departures of Sylvia Fowles and Elena Delle Donne.

Vandersloot struggled early in her career, but then-coach Pokey Chatman pushed the former Gonzaga star out of her comfort zone and she eventually thrived as a starter.

“After my first couple of years, they could’ve given up on me, but they didn’t because they saw something,” Vandersloot said. “There’s been a lot of ups and downs. Their loyalty to me means everything to me and I feel like I need to reciprocate that.”

Vandersloot, who will be entering her 10th season with the Sky, is coming off an All-Star campaign during which she set a league record for most assists in a single season (300). She played a crucial role in helping the team earn its first playoff berth in two seasons, though she made a costly mistake in the second round of the playoffs that ended the Sky’s season in heartbreaking fashion. In 2019, Vandersloot averaged 11.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and a league-leading 9.1 assists.

“We are thrilled to finish our free agency signings on a big note,” general manager James Wade said in a statement. “To have the All-WNBA first-team point guard and MVP candidate coming back to lead our ball club is huge for us. Last season was an incredible season for her and the Sky, so we’re looking forward to Sloot leading us to achieve our goals this season.”

Wade found a way to return most of last year’s team. Along with Vandersloot, the Sky renewed starters Stefanie Dolson and Allie Quigley on multiyear deals. They also brought back Kahleah Copper.

The two biggest players to depart were 2019 first-round pick Katie Lou Samuelson and center Astou Ndour, who were traded to the Wings in two separate deals. Jamierra Faulkner also announced this month that she would be sitting out the season to rehab her injured knee.

The Sky don’t expect to make any more major moves this free agency, though Wade could sign players to training-camp contracts, like he did with Alexis Prince last week. The Sky, who have the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft, can have a maximum of 15 players at training camp, which opens April 26.