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Why exactly did the Chicago Sky suspended Gabby Williams for the entire 2021 season?
As the WNBA season prepares to tip off, we’re losing track of the massive questions we all want answers to.
Will Breanna Stewart and the Storm repeat as WNBA Champions? Which exciting young rookie will dazzle us and become one of the new faces of the league? Can
One of the biggest questions revolves around the Chicago Sky and its suspension of star forward Gabby Williams. Chicago is just three years removed from using the fourth overall pick on Williams yet she won’t be stepping foot on the court for the Sky this season.
Williams is healthy, doesn’t have any off-court issues that have become public, and has been an important part of the Sky’s rotation her entire career.
So the question is obvious: Why?
WNBA News: Why did the Chicago Sky suspended Gabby Williams?
First and foremost the definition of the suspension needs to be stated. According to WNBA rules, a team that places a player on the full-season suspended list does is completely off the hook for paying any salary, but is allowed to retain that player’s rights.
Essentially, the Sky are forcing Gabby Williams to take a year off but won’t be paying her and will expect her to return to the team in 2022 unless she is traded.
Chicago Sky head coach James Wade was asked about Williams’ suspension and offered no official explanation.
Wade hasn’t completely dodged questions about the full-season suspension. He told the Chicago Sun-Times that the French National team is planning on adding Williams to its Olympic roster, something that the coach used as a reason for Williams being unavailable to play this season.
Per the Sun-Times:
Wade said the French Federation of Basketball called him ahead of the draft and said it wanted Williams to join the national team. The Sky’s move isn’t a surprise. Williams was set to miss much of the 2021 season because of the commitment.
Matt Ellentuck connected the dots to create a picture the powers that be at the WNBA need to see. The league is in dire need of expansion, both with increased attention and the influx of talent. As malicious as this all sounds, the Sky did try to trade Williams around the draft but WNBA roster restrictions complicated those efforts.
The Sky can only carry 11 players on its roster this year, and keeping an inactive Williams on the roster would knock it down to a maximum of 10 available players. Chicago is expected to be without two other players due to the Olympics (Stefanie Dolson and Astou Ndour) which would mean at times during the season Chicago would have only 9 active players — and that’s assuming they are all healthy.