Two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player Elena Delle Donne is stepping away from basketball for an unspecified amount of time, ESPN reported.
Delle Donne has a one-year supermax contract offer on the table but has told the Washington Mystics that she doesn’t intend to sign it.
The Mystics placed the core designation on the 34-year-old center, which means they have exclusive negotiating rights with her. Without doing so, she could have walked away in free agency and signed elsewhere if she decides to play later this season or next.
Now, should Delle Donne want to return to the WNBA but not to the Mystics, she and the team would have to agree on a sign-and-trade deal.
The Mystics now find themselves without two key members of their 2023 team — Delle Donne and Natasha Cloud, who signed as a free agent with the Phoenix Mercury. Washington chose to use its core designation on Delle Donne instead of on the 31-year-old Cloud.
A seven-time All-Star, Delle Donne helped to lead the Mystics to the 2019 WNBA title. She played her first four seasons with the Chicago Sky, who selected her with the second overall pick of the 2013 draft, and the past six with the Mystics.
In 241 career games (234 starts), Delle Donne has averages of 19.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.
Last season, she appeared in 23 games for the Mystics, averaging 16.7 points and 5.4 rebounds. In recent years, she has struggled with injuries to her back.
–Field Level Media
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