January 22, 2023 

The Wings trade Allisha Gray to the Atlanta Dream for two first-round draft picks

Dallas acquired the third overall selection in the upcoming 2023 WNBA Draft from the Dream and their 2025 first-round selection.

Free agency is in full swing and the Dallas Wings announced on Saturday that they have traded guard Allisha Gray to the Atlanta Dream. In exchange, the Wings received the third overall selection in the 2023 WNBA Draft and a 2025 first-round selection. This is the second blockbuster trade in six days for Dallas.

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Last season the 3×3 Olympic gold medalist was the third leading scorer and rebounder for the team, averaging 13.3 points and 4.8 boards. President and CEO Greg Bibb thanked Gray for her contributions to the franchise.

“I would like to thank Allisha for all she has done for our organization while wearing a Wings uniform,” Bibb stated. “From the day we drafted her in 2017, she has been the consummate professional and teammate on and off the court. I wish her and her family all the best moving forward.”

The 6’1 guard expressed on social media how excited she is about her next opportunity with Dream. She will be one of the keys to turning Atlanta into a playoff team, just as she did for Dallas. Trading a player like Gray for a couple of picks could prove to be an unbalanced deal. The development of current players and the No. 3 pick in the draft could prove to balance the deal, but that’s easier said than done.

Dallas Wings guard Allisha Gray (15) answers questions from the media after the WNBA playoff game between the Dallas Wings and the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA on August 21, 2022. Photo Credit: Chris Poss

Gray is a high-caliber player who has been one of the most impactful two-way players in the league. The 6’1 guard was the 2017 Rookie of the Year and has been playing with Dallas through their rebuilding years. The loss of Gray leaves a big hole for Dallas offensively and defensively.

On Jan. 21, the Wings announced they had acquired three-time WNBA champion Natasha Howard from New York. That came at the expense of veteran guard and defensive stopper Kayla Thornton, who joins the Liberty.

Meanwhile, former South Carolina Gamecock Tyasha Harris was sent to the Connecticut Sun. Adding the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year in Howard definitely helps soften the blow of parting with Gray. The Wings will look completely different in 2023.

Potential Wings starting five

G – Arike Ogunbowale – The former Notre Dame Irish has led the team in scoring since entering the league in 2019. She finished last season fourth in scoring averaging 19.7 points per game at shooting at 40 percent. The importance of her leadership was discussed on the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast recently. Dallas will go as far as Ogunbowale can take them.

G – Marina Mabrey – The guard is still a restricted free agent but Dallas would like to retain her and many predict she will return in 2023. Mabrey was the second-leading scorer for Dallas averaging 13.6 points per game. She is a fiery player that will exhibit aggressiveness on offense and defense.

F – Satou Sabally – The 6’4 forward only played 17 games last season due to a knee injury. Her availability has not been her best ability. She still averaged 11.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Sabally’s health will be especially important this season with the absence of Gray and Thornton.

F – Natasha Howard – She has the accolades, being a three-time champion and a Defensive Player of the Year proves the impact she can make on a team. She averaged 15.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the New York Liberty in 2022.

C – Teaira McCowan – The 6’7 center was acquired before the 2022 season. She is also a restricted free agent and, like Mabrey, many predict she will return to the team. She played just 18.9 minutes per game and still averaged 11.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. The Bryan, Texas native was is a walking double-double for Dallas, and she should see a significant increase in minutes.

If this potential starting five can stay healthy, they can have the potential to see success. Last year was one of the franchise’s best seasons in Dallas, finishing with an 18-18 record and winning their first playoff game since 2009 when they were the Detroit Shock. After losing three players, including Gray and Kayla Thornton from the starting lineup, the goal to make a deeper run into the playoffs appears to have taken a step backward.

Forward Isabelle Harrison is an unrestricted free agent who is likely to go elsewhere in free agency. It is possible to balance a win-now attitude while also reshaping the team, but difficult. And there are some still big holes to fill.

First-year head coach Latricia Trammell now goes from trying to make old pieces fit to constructing a puzzle from scratch. Trammell’s calling card is defense and her expertise is just what Dallas will need in order to make them a competitive team in 2023.

Written by Arie Graham

Arie Graham joined 'The Next' in May 2021 as the beat writer for the Dallas Wings.

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