February 2, 2024
Kalani Brown’s re-signing is good news for the Dallas Wings’ paint presence
Brown will keep the the team dominant inside the paint
The Dallas Wings have re-signed 6’7 center Kalani Brown to a multiyear contract, the team announced Thursday. She was a good complement to Teaira McCowan last season. With Brown on the roster, the team will be able to keep the same size and productivity on the court for the full 40 minutes. Brown said her decision to stay in Dallas is a lifestyle choice.
“I’m so happy to be back here,” she said during a press conference. “The decision was, I thought, long and hard. … But I think I want to build on the championship culture here. Dallas has always been close to my heart, you know, be that right down there [in] Waco, Texas. So both Dallas and Texas have been really close to my heart, and this wasn’t just a basketball decision, this is a lifestyle choice. Dallas gave me a chance when nobody was looking at me and I just think we got so far last year. I’m just happy to be back and contribute.”
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What the re-signing means for Dallas
Things were rocky for Brown since being drafted seventh by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2019, due to a multitude of injuries. She played in only 31 games in her first three seasons. She was out of the league in 2022 due to a torn meniscus. The trajectory of Brown’s career has changed. She took full advantage of her opportunity when she signed a hardship contract with Dallas on June 29, 2023. Her performance that season garnered the attention of several teams around the league. A top priority for Dallas in free agency was to retain Brown especially after her performance last season. President, chief executive officer and partner Greg Bibb said she exceeded the organization’s expectations.
“Obviously, based off the performance that she displayed last year was a completely different situation for Kalani in terms of her free agency,” Bibb said. “There was high demand for someone of her ability or athleticism or size or productivity. Despite all of that, though, it’s good to know that loyalty is still something that matters in our business.”
“I feel that we were in a position to give Kalani an opportunity last year, and she delivered,” Bibb continued. “And then I think a lot of you remember that. I’m happy that she chose [Dallas] despite many options, and candidly some of them that were financially, perhaps better, options to return to Dallas and to be here for the foreseeable future as a cornerstone of what we’re building.”
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Gearing up for the 2024 season
Brown averaged 7.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 2023 with the second-best efficiency in the WNBA at 62.9%. This offseason she spent some time in China playing with Xinjiang. She led the team in scoring, averaging 25.9 points per game, good for second in the WCBA. She also led the team in rebounding, averaging 10.8 per game. Athletes Unlimited is coming up next. During the press conference Brown said that playing AU help get her confidence back.
“I wasn’t very confident that I could be in the league, when I initially started playing,” Brown said. “My role there was to get back to me. And I feel like playing Athletes Unlimited in Vegas around all the star power, around all the players and with W players who played in Athletes Unlimited telling me that I should be in the league. I give Natasha Cloud her flowers every time. She went on her platform and demanded that I have a job, and I was able to get in a training camp contract. That just gave … the confidence to me and just for me to keep going.”
Dallas will have their core of Arike Ogunbowale, Satou Sabally, Natasha Howard and McCowan for the upcoming season. With the multiyear signing of Brown and the one-year signing of Sabally, the team could possibly be a semifinalist or more this upcoming season. Bibb said this is a really important time for the organization.
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“The most apparent way is we have, as I mentioned before, in my opinion, one of the best post players in the league coming back and making a long-term commitment here,” he said. “But I think even larger than that, what it means organizationally off the court, in terms of we have players, good players with options, deciding that Dallas is the place that they want to be to continue their career and to pursue championships.
“And we look over the recent past, whether it’s Kalani today, whether it’s Satou, whether it’s Arike several years ago — I can go on and on and on. Players are deciding that Dallas is where they want to be long term, and they’re really establishing roots. Kalani mentioned buying a home. I can’t wait for that to happen for her. We’ve had other players that have done similar things. So we’ve really taken great leaps forward as an organization and being a place where players want to be long term and players envision winning championships.”