January 22, 2023 

Allisha Gray officially traded to Atlanta to build defensive powerhouse

Gray brings an athletic two-way skillset

On Saturday afternoon, the Atlanta Dream announced their trade with the Dallas Wings, bringing Olympic gold medalist Allisha Gray to Atlanta in exchange for the Dream’s 2023 No. 3 pick and 2025 first-round pick.

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First rumblings of Gray leaving the Lone Star State were reported by Khristina Williams in July, stating Gray had requested a trade midseason, but would likely remain in Dallas to finish the season. M.A. Voepel first reported Gray would be coming to Atlanta on Wednesday, and Howard Megdal reported full trade details soon after.

Gray is a product of the Southeast, originally from Sandersville, Ga., where she brought Washington County High School a 3A State Championship. In 2017, she helped to bring South Carolina its first national championship. And in September, Gray became a franchise owner of the Atlanta-based WNB Factory restaurant in Milledgeville, Georgia.

Gray was drafted fourth overall to the Dallas Wings in 2017, where she was later named Rookie of the Year. At the 2020 Olympics, Gray won a gold medal in Women’s 3×3 basketball

“Adding Allisha Gray is a huge step for our organization… She is one of the best two-way guards in the world and is in the prime of her career,” Dream General Manager and Executive Vice President Dan Padover said in the introductory press release. “The intensity in her style of play will fit perfectly here in Atlanta.”

And as Padover referenced, Gray has seen great strides in the past couple of years. She was very close to an All-Star nod last year, averaging 13.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. 

Gray is a wing with a strong defensive presence but is also an impressive two-way player. Last season, she was a major difference-maker for the Wings, with significant offensive production every time she stepped on the court. According to her teammates, Gray plays with heart, effort, and athleticism.

And alongside Rhyne Howard, Cheyenne Parker and Naz Hillmon, Atlanta’s defense may be unstoppable. Coach Tanisha Wright strongly emphasizes defense, and the team already was one of the best defenses in the league last year. This year, that defense will only improve.

The Howard and Gray pairing will be particularly fun to watch, and a perfect fit as both of them bring young athleticism on both ends.

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However, not all feel that the deal was a positive step for the Dream. The terms allow the Wings two draft picks, one being a third overall, for a one-year contract, as Gray is a free agent in 2024. In addition, the Dream lost the chance to pick a player like Hayley Jones or Diamond Miller this season, plus a pick from a stacked draft class next year, both of who could be great additions to this young Atlanta team.

And although we’re still young into free agency, it seems that the Dream are in win-now mode by getting a player like Gray. A comment from Padover’s press release aligns with that perception: “We continue to build towards becoming a perennial contender in this league.”

Although the team is still young, with talents like Howard, Gray, and what could be other major free agency signings, the Dream are a serious threat to make a deep postseason run.

Written by Gabriella Lewis

Gabriella is The Next's Atlanta Dream and SEC beat reporter. She is a Bay Area native currently studying at Emory University.

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