Skylar Diggins-Smith Says She Doesn't Plan on Playing for Wings Next Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2020

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 2: Skylar Diggins-Smith #17 of the USA Women's National Team dribbles the ball against Stanford University on November 2, 2019 Maples Pavilion in Stanford, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice:  Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jack Arent/Getty Images

Dallas Wings star Skylar Diggins-Smith confirmed her intentions Monday to play for another WNBA team in 2020. 

"I don't plan on playing in Dallas next year," she said to the Associated Press' Doug Feinberg. "I'm happy to be playing in this league and I want to play."

Wings president and CEO Greg Bibb told Feinberg the team applied the core designation to the four-time All-Star, which entitles her to earn the new $215,000 max salary for the upcoming season.

Diggins-Smith's comments affirm what many expected as the WNBA offseason gets underway.

The 29-year-old missed the entire 2019 campaign following the birth of her first child. In October, she tweeted she had played throughout 2018 while pregnant and criticized what she felt was a lack of support from her team:

Bibb told reporters the Wings paid Diggins-Smith her full salary while on maternity leave. The new collective bargaining agreement makes that the standard throughout the league, with the previous CBA stipulating teams were only required to pay half of a player's wages.

Bibb also told The Athletic's Dorothy Gentry the Wings "expressed our support for her, including several times communicating to her the medical services that were available to her and her family through our team."

Diggins-Smith said she'd be open to staying with the Wings but that she wanted to see changes from the franchise:

"The organization has changes that it needs to make. Everyone knows that. That's no secret to the public. It's out of my hands now. I would love to finish my career in Dallas. If those conditions aren't improved for myself, for the women on the team, for the WNBA, our children ... I'm not coming back to that and that's exactly what I told (Wings president and CEO) Greg Bibb and the organization. I've been transparent with that the whole time."

This is the second time in two years in which Dallas is at risk of losing one of its best players.

Liz Cambage requested to leave in January 2019. In an essay for The Players' Tribune in August, she wrote she lost her support system with the Wings when the team fired head coach Fred Williams.

The Wings eventually traded Cambage to the Las Vegas Aces for Moriah Jefferson, Isabelle Harrison and the Aces' first- and second-round picks in 2020.

Dallas' leverage will have eroded with Diggins-Smith's preference out in the open, but she should still have a robust trade market. She averaged 17.9 points, 6.2 assists and 1.4 steals in her last season.

The Wings, meanwhile, already have the foundation in place for a rebuild. Arike Ogunbowale was runner-up in the 2019 Rookie of the Year voting after averaging 19.1 points, and Allisha Gray emerged as a dynamic long-range threat, hitting 38.4 percent of her three-pointers.

Dallas also has the No. 2 pick in the draft, which will allow the front office to either fortify the frontcourt or find a backcourt partner to play alongside Ogunbowale.

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