With the Sky’s roster nearly complete for 2021, general manager/coach James Wade took an important step this week in planning for the future.
The Sky signed forward Azura Stevens to a one-year contract extension, the team announced Wednesday.
Stevens, who would have been a restricted free agent after this season, will make $140,000 guaranteed in 2022, The Next reported.
“Azura showed last year that she is an important part of how we play, so we wanted to see her going forward in a Chicago Sky uniform,” Wade said in a statement. “We feel like she’s home, and she feels like she’s home being with us, so it feels great to provide stability for both of us and be able to build with her from here.”
Stevens has spent this offseason rehabbing in her hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, after she underwent season-ending knee surgery last fall.
Before her injury, Stevens was in the midst of a comeback season.
Acquired in an offseason trade that sent 2019 first-round pick Katie Lou Samuelson to the Wings, Stevens started all 13 games she appeared in for the Sky and posted career highs in points (11.5 per game) and rebounds (5.9 per game), while shooting 50% from the field.
In a previous interview with the Sun-Times, Stevens, who missed the end of the 2019 season with a foot injury that required surgery, said she’ll be back next season.
Stevens will join two-time league MVP Candace Parker, 2020 first-round pick Ruthy Hebard and international player Marie Conde, who has yet to report to the team, as the only players committed to the Sky for 2022.
Wade could look to sign other upcoming restricted free agents like Gabby Williams and Diamond DeShields, who are in the last year of their rookie deals.