Sky trade Gabby Williams to Sparks for rookie Stephanie Watts, rights to Leonie Fiebich
Williams will remain on the suspended list for the 2021 season to honor her commitments to the French national team.
The Sky traded forward Gabby Williams to the Sparks for rookie guard Stephanie Watts and the rights to forward Leonie Fiebich, the team confirmed to the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday.
Williams will remain on the suspended list for the 2021 season to honor her commitments to the French national team, the Sparks said.
‘‘We’re excited to bring Gabby Williams into the L.A. Sparks organization,’’ general manager and coach Derek Fisher said. ‘‘At just 24 years old, Gabby is a versatile player who still has the potential to make a major impact in this league. She fits into what we’re building in Los Angeles, and we look forward to the future with her in a Sparks uniform.’’
The trade had been in the works since draft night. A WNBA source told the Sun-Times that the Sky were looking to include Williams in a trade package and that the Sparks were one of the teams being targeted. The deal didn’t come off at that time, but it did eventually.
The Sky put Williams on the full-season suspended list Thursday. She didn’t publicly respond to the decision immediately, but she expressed displeasure on her social-media accounts, liking various tweets that said, ‘‘Free Gabby.’’
On Saturday, Williams tweeted: ‘‘wait... is this my villain origin story...’’ That further developed the narrative the parting wasn’t mutually agreed on.
Sky general manager and coach James Wade dismissed that idea.
‘‘We have a goal in mind,’’ Wade said before the Sky’s preseason opener Sunday against the Fever. ‘‘We needed our group of 11. We have players like [Stefanie Dolson and Astou Ndour] who are going to leave for the national team. They made it a priority to be here. We didn’t want to put our players behind the eight-ball because we start the season with only eight or nine when we didn’t have to.’’
The Sky selected Williams with the fourth overall pick of the 2018 draft. In three seasons with them, she averaged 6.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals in 20.8 minutes. She started 30 games her rookie season before becoming a key contributor off the bench the next two seasons.
Williams had a standout offseason with Sopron in Hungary, being named defensive player of the year and being named to the All-EuroLeague Women first team.
As a player on the full-season suspended list, Williams won’t be paid and her salary won’t count against the Sparks’ cap. She had an unprotected $70,040 salary with the Sky, according to HerHoopStats.
Watts was the 10th overall pick in the 2021 draft from North Carolina and Fiebich the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 draft from Germany.
The Sky lost to the Fever 82-65 in their preseason opener. The teams will play a second preseason game at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Wintrust Arena.
‘‘Our offense will come,’’ Dolson said. ‘‘Defensively, we played hard. We got some steals, pressured the ball really hard and rebounded OK. A lot of good things that we can improve upon.’’