LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Sparks acquired Gabby Williams from the Chicago Sky for rookie Stephanie Watts and the rights to German guard Leonie Fiebich on Sunday.
Williams, the No. 4 pick in the 2018 draft, was put on the suspended list for the season by Chicago because she will be with the French national team preparing for the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
The Sparks said Williams will remain on the suspended list.
Williams averaged 7.7 points and four rebounds last season for Chicago. She helped UConn win two NCAA titles when she was in college.
“At just 24 years old, Gabby is a versatile player who still has the potential to make a major impact in this league,” Sparks coach Derek Fisher said. “She fits into what we’re building in Los Angeles, and we look forward to the future with her in a Sparks uniform.”
Sky general manager and coach James Wade said Sunday morning before the trade was announced that the decision was made to suspend Williams because the team did not want to have that open spot heading into the WNBA season. If she made the French Olympic team she wouldn’t be back until August.
“We needed our group of 11,” he said. “We have players like Stefanie (Dolson), who’s going to leave for the (U.S.) national team, and Astou (Ndour), who’s going to leave for the (Spanish) national team, and they made a point of priority to be here. And so that’s our whole thing, is that we need them here. We have a season that we feel can be special.
“We didn’t want to put our players behind the eight ball because we only start the season with eight or nine when we didn’t have to. So that was our whole thinking behind it.”
Watts was the 10th pick in the draft last month. The 21-year-old Fiebich was drafted 22nd last year.