The #EDD2DC freight train has been gaining steam this week. Contracts can’t be signed until February, but there’s a good chance that Chicago Sky forward Elena Delle Donne will play for the Mystics this summer.
Since this is one of the biggest news stories in the WNBA right now, you’d imagine that something will come out from folks around the Chicago Sky. According to Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune, Delle Donne wanted to play for the Mystics since at least 2016:
Rumblings about her desire to play in Washington began last summer. Her hometown in Delaware is within commuting distance, and on several occasions she has expressed a strong desire to be near her older sister, Lizzie, who was born blind and deaf, has autism and cerebral palsy and communicates with Elena through touch and smell.
Besides the "coming home" angle, Delle Donne was apparently not happy with Chicago’s front office, and their lack of marketing her. Finally, Thompson implied that Delle Donne may not have been comfortable assuming a more vocal leadership role for them.
There are conflicting reports as to whether Delle Donne was unhappy. According to former Sky player Jacki Gemelos, Delle Donne never looked unhappy to be in Chicago, at least openly. Gemelos also noted that Delle Donne was the "leader by example" on the Sky while veteran guard Cappie Pondexter was more of the "vocal leader." Pondexter is a big star in her own right where she was the 2007 WNBA Finals MVP and a Team USA player on the 2008 national team.
Finally, Thompson reported that the Mystics may be willing to part ways with sophomore wing Kahleah Copper in addition to Stefanie Dolson and the 2nd overall pick in the 2017 Draft. Earlier reports claimed that the Sky were hoping to acquire Emma Meesseman from the Mystics, but that was rejected.
In due time, we’ll find out more regarding why Delle Donne wanted to leave Chicago for Washington — or another team. After all, this isn’t official yet. But it isn’t very often when a superstar in her prime like Delle Donne wants to play for the Mystics. It’s an exciting time indeed here in D.C.