Delle Donne’s departure from Sky could be quickly approaching
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
The possibility of Elena Delle Donne leaving the Sky becomes more real by the day.
A published report last week had the Sky discussing a trade with the Washington Mystics in which they would deal Delle Donne for center Stefanie Dolson and a first-round draft pick. Delle Donne’s representatives would neither confirm nor deny a possible trade this week.
On Wednesday, a report cited sources as saying Delle Donne has been unhappy in Chicago for a number of reasons, including a revolving door that has ushered former teammates and coaches out. The report also said she felt out of place with the Sky.
Former Sky coach and general manager Pokey Chatman, who was fired in October, declined to comment when reached on Wednesday. Chatman was hired to coach the Indiana Fever in November and said in a text message she wanted to focus on her new team.
Asked whether she sensed Delle Donne had become disgruntled, Chatman replied, ‘‘I don’t care to comment.’’
Delle Donne won a gold medal with the U.S. women’s team at the Rio Olympics last summer. She is a restricted free agent, which means the Sky can match any offer she receives from another team.
On a podcast in December, Sky owner Michael Alter there was a ‘‘strong possibility’’ he would look into trading Delle Donne. Asked whether he sensed Delle Donne wanted to stay in Chicago, Alter replied, ‘‘I think where she is right now is that she wants to pursue other options.’’
WNBA free agency began Jan. 15, but deals can’t become official until Wednesday.
New Sky coach and GM Amber Stocks has declined to comment about Delle Donne’s future, citing a team policy not to discuss personnel matters.
Delle Donne told the Hooked on Women’s Basketball podcast in December that she would like to be closer to her home in Wilmington, Delaware, as she begins to focus on raising children with fiancée Amanda Clifton and on being closer to her family. Delle Donne’s sister, Lizzie, was born deaf and blind and has autism and cerebral palsy.
‘‘You have to think about your family, where you want to be living, where you want them to grow up and make some traditions,’’ she said.
Delle Donne had traveled to China this week to join Shanxi of the Chinese basketball league for the playoffs, but she experienced a recurrence of Lyme disease, which forced her to miss 17 games in 2014.
In a news conference in China, Delle Donne said she thought she needed to come back to the United States but didn’t rule out returning in the future.
‘‘Lyme disease is difficult to manage many times, especially now,’’ Delle Donne said. ‘‘I’m really struggling with my health right now.’’
Follow me on Twitter @JeffArnold_.