Former Sky star Delle Donne 'truly happy' with life after trade
They say that breaking up is hard to do.
But Elena Delle Donne seems to have had no trouble moving on from her breakup with the Chicago Sky.
Delle Donne, who starred here for four years and was named the WNBA's Most Valuable Player in 2015, is averaging 21.5 points per game for her new team, the Washington Mystics, which ranks her fourth in league scoring. And she scored 21 points Wednesday at Allstate Arena in a win over the Sky.
Over the winter, Delle Donne demanded to be traded from the Sky, saying she would sit out the 2017 season if the Sky couldn't work out a deal.
The details of why push came so abruptly to shove between Delle Donne and the Sky are sketchy and more rumor than fact. Obviously, something wasn't kosher during her final days here.
That seems to be water under the bridge now -- at least for Delle Donne. She was gracious and positive in her postgame interviews Wednesday and mentioned she gave hugs to a lot of her former teammates before the game.
"I've been in touch with them and continue to be friends with them, (but) obviously, there's nerves. It's weird being here with all the talk around it and the things that have been said," Delle Donne said. "I'm a human being. I'm aware of being back here and it being different. But the biggest thing is that I'm thrilled with where I'm at and I'm really happy with this team. It's been a great road so far."
Essentially the only on-the-record reason Delle Donne gave for wanting to be traded was that she wanted to move east and get closer to her family and special needs sister. Delle Donne grew up in Delaware. Being traded to the Mystics was ideal for her, and Washington is the closest WNBA team to her hometown.
"It's been everything that I was looking for," Delle Donne said of the move. "Amanda (Delle Donne's fiancé) and I are truly happy in our home and we feel like we can build a family there. It's been a really nice move for us."
So far, Sky starting center Stefanie Dolson appears feel the same way about her move to Chicago. She was sent to the Sky as part of the trade with Washington. Dolson is averaging 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game this season had 13 points and 11 rebounds against the Mystics on Wednesday.
But facing her former team for the first time was a little strange for her, too.
"It was weird. I've never had to play against old teammates like that," said Dolson, who was drafted No. 6 overall by the Mystics in 2014. She spent the first three years of her career in Washington after playing college ball at Connecticut. "But we all said hi at the beginning. There were smiles and laughs but once we got on (the court), I still was playing hard."
And such is life in the WNBA, and in pro sports in general. People change, teams change, jerseys change but the end game doesn't. Business is business, and playing hard is expected … even though feelings and history sometimes get in the way.
• Patricia Babcock McGraw also works as a basketball color analyst for games involving DePaul University, the Big Ten, the Big East, Northern Illinois University, Chicago Sky and the Illinois High School Association. Follow her on Twitter @BabcockMcGraw.