Elena Delle Donne has refused to sign a one-year supermax contract with the Washington Mystics, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. She will instead take a break from playing basketball. It is unclear as to how long this break will be.
The Mystics designated Delle Donne as a core player last month, apparently soon after rumors came about that she reportedly intended to leave the team. At first, it seemed like Delle Donne wanted to play for the Phoenix Mercury or Las Vegas Aces. But the Mercury traded for Kahleah Copper from the Chicago Sky. That trade effectively dashed any hopes for such a move. Furthermore, the Las Vegas Aces don’t have the type of players and draft picks that would help with a rebuild.
If Delle Donne sits out the 2024 WNBA season, the Mystics can core her again for the 2025 season. Also, the 2025 season is when a new Bay Area expansion team comes, so the Mystics may have some additional flexibility to keep players from being drafted by the new team.
However, at any rate, it seems like the decision to core Delle Donne has backfired because she won’t be playing for the Mystics. According to Shelburne, this came after Delle Donne told the team that she was unsure about her future for this season and beyond. Also, Natasha Cloud, another player the Mystics could have cored, signed with the Mercury last week.
This is a tough day for me to process. The Elena Delle Donne Era, especially the 2017-19 seasons, were a blast. I just don’t want to see it end like this.
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