February 3, 2022 

James Wade weighs in on Chicago’s three-team deal, new acquisition Julie Allemand

'If she can be that player, that would be really, really great'

On Wednesday night, the Chicago Sky, Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever completed a three-way trade that sent a ripple effect throughout the league, and brought Julie Allemand to Chicago.

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Trade breakdown

  • Chicago received: Julie Allemand (from IND) and a 2023 first round pick (from PHO)
  • Phoenix received: Diamond DeShields (from CHI)
  • Indiana received: Bria Hartley (from PHO), two second round picks (2022 and 2023 from PHO), two first round picks (2022 seventh overall pick from CHI, 2023 from CHI)

What this means for the Sky

ESPN’s Holly Rowe reported the Sky offered Courtney Vandersloot a “wildly disrespectful” contract and that UMMC Ekaterinburg is willing to offer her money not to play in 2022. Sky head coach and general manager James Wade declined to comment to The Next on Vandersloot’s situation. If Chicago and their all-world point guard are unable to find a deal, Allemand is a reliable backup option to fall on. She is the only rookie to average at least 8 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists per game in a season, which she did when she played for the Fever in 2020. Allemand also was named to the WNBA All-Rookie team that season.

Wade told The Next Allemand will play in the WNBA this season after she posted on Instagram on Dec. 30 that she would be taking time off from basketball. Her season in France will linger into May but Wade believes they will “make it work like we have done before.” The 2022 FIBA World Cup will not interfere with Allemand playing in the WNBA postseason, Wade said. With or without Vandersloot in 2022, Wade likes what he has in Allemand, who he has seen play when she was on the roster his wife, Edwige Lawson-Wade, coached.

“[Allemand] played great in her first stint [in the WNBA],” said Wade. “If she can be that player, that would be really, really great. Normally, rookies have a hard time transitioning to the WNBA — especially guards — and being efficient right away. She is a good rebounding guard, was second in the league in assists behind Sloot and played a lot of minutes. We want to build on that.”

Allemand, who didn’t play in the WNBA last season because she wanted to rest after participating in the 2020 Olympics, will be reunited with Emma Meesseman and newly appointed Sky assistant coach Ann Wauters. All three played with one another in the 2020 Olympics for Team Belgium.

The Sky also received the Mercury’s 2023 first round pick, a large return for DeShields, who entered free agency as a restricted free agent. With cap space dwindling around the league, Wade was able to pull off getting one of the best young guards in the league in 2020. She will make $61,049 this upcoming season. If the Sky are able to retain Vandersloot, Allemand fits in nicely behind the three-time all-star and could help lessen Vandersloot’s workload. Vandersloot has averaged over 30.0 minutes per game with the Sky since 2017 and rehabbed a foot injury in Russia after the WNBA Finals before making her UMMC debut on Jan. 6.

Written by James Kay

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