January 14, 2024
2024 WNBA free agency preview: Dallas Wings
Greg Bibb: ‘I'm confident that Satou Sabally will be wearing a Wings' jersey when the 2024 season begins'
The Dallas Wings are heading into 2024 looking to build upon the core that they have in free agency. The team took a step forward in 2023, winning a playoff series for the first time in its Dallas history — in fact, the last time the organization that also spent time in Tulsa won a playoff series came during its inal season in Detroit in 2009.
Still, the Wings’ first season under new head coach Latricia Trammell was riddled with injuries, forcing Dallas to use nine different starting lineups. But the biggest constant that the team had throughout the season is also the biggest question mark as 2024 begins: restricted free agent Satou Sabally.
Dallas extended a qualifying offer to Sabally earlier this week, a key step to keeping her rights ahead of free agency window opening on Feb. 1. Beginning that day, other teams can start submitting offer sheets, which have to be multi-year offers, and any offer sheet Sabally accepts locks her in to that team at that offer. At that time, Dallas has four days to decide to match that offer under those terms exactly or decline to match the offer, allowing Sabally to go to her new team.
Greg Bibb, the Wings’ president, CEO and lead basketball executive, said he’s confident that Sabally will return for the 2024 season. The 2023 Most Improved Player put on a showcase averaging a career high 18.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. She is a piece that cannot be missing if the Wings want to be a championship contender.
“She has the opportunity and the right to speak with other teams at the appropriate time and even sign an offer sheet but we would then have an opportunity to match that offer sheet,” Bibb said. “So I’m confident that Satou Sabally will be wearing a Wings jersey when the 2024 season begins.”
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What does Dallas need to improve?
Dallas was the worst three-point shooting team, just averaging 31.7 percent which held them back last season. The hope in Dallas is that Lou Lopez Senechal and Stephanie Soares will be big pieces to help the Wings improve the 3-point percentage after both 2023 first round picks missed the 2023 season due to knee injuries (with Soares’ injury known at the time of the draft-day trade and Lopez Senechal suffering hers during training camp).
“We also have this kind of players that we have, but we haven’t had, that’s almost like a whole draft class slash free agency in itself, in that while Senechal was with us all year last year she didn’t play because of injury,” Bibb said. “We drafted Lou number five overall, to help fill our void in terms of three point shooting. So just having her healthy and available will address a lot of the things we were trying to address in last year’s draft.”
“Then on a related front, we drafted Soares knowing that she was going to be injured and not available to play last summer. We fully anticipate signing her Feb. 1 as soon as we can, and having her on the roster next year. While she’s a big, she’s a big who can shoot the three ball so I think two players that are in our universe, but haven’t played for us yet, are going to be big pieces to how we improve ourselves in terms of our three point shooting.”
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Who could the Wings lose due to free agency?
Dallas led the league in rebounding last season, averaging 38.7 boards per game — and 6’7 center Kalani Brown was a big reason why. There was no drop off when Brown stepped in for and for Dallas’ starter, 6’7 Teaira McCowan. The interior is going to take a hit if Brown finds herself on another team.
Brown was the healthiest she has been in her WNBA career. After being out of the league in 2022, the center showed the league how much of an asset she can be on any roster. Brown may be the most sought out center in free agency. It is during this period that Dallas will have to find a player to fill the void. They do not have to be 6’7. Help from the big Wings outside and the addition of Soares may suffice.
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How does the team decide which players are a good fit?
Head coach Latricia Trammell will be heading into her second season with Dallas. The team grew closer under her and created a culture. The players should be more familiar with Trammell’s expectations and they can just build on the progress they have made.
“I think the hard part in creating culture is getting started and kind of flipping a culture. But now thanks to having players like a Arike Ogunbowale, who’s been here since 2019; Satou, who’s been here since 2020; Veronica Burton is going in to year three; Natasha Howard coming back and being the veteran that she is … I think our culture is strong,” Bibb said. “It’s one of our positives and one of our strengths and certainly coach Trammell and the way she approaches coaching has played a big part in helping that culture grow and cultivate.”
Jacob Mox contributed to this report.
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