KEY POINTS

  • Gabby Williams was suspended and then traded by the Chicago Sky
  • Williams reportedly failed to report to training camp
  • The former UConn star will play for France in the EuroBasket in June

Over the weekend, embattled WNBA forward Gabby Williams was placed on the Chicago Sky’s full-season suspension list before the team traded her to the Los Angeles Sparks.

Williams had an unprotected salary worth $70,040 and will not be able to suit up for the Sparks either as the suspension meant being taken off the cap sheet and not being able to play for the entire season.

The reported reason for the former UConn star’s demise was the failure to show up in the Sky’s training camp prior to tip-off, a violation of WNBA CBA even if Williams--through social media--appeared to be in Chicago in the first place.

The 24-year-old did not take the treatment positively, still going on cryptic Twitter jabs through her account @gabbywilliams15.

The situation has led to more questions funneling out. Ultimately, the WNBA community wants to pinpoint who is to be blamed for what transpired.

But understandably, even the Sky were in a precarious situation they couldn’t fully control.

Every offseason, WNBA teams have the daunting task of forming the best 11 to 12-woman roster entering the regular season not just talent-wise but also signing each of them to deals that fall under the $1,339,000 annual salary cap combined.

It’s no easy task, but WNBA players also want what’s best for their financial security.

It is no secret most players spend the offseason playing for overseas clubs to earn more income as Williams herself played for Hungarian side WB Sopron Basket in the prestigious FIBA EuroLeague Women.

The 6-foot forward is also part of the French national team training pool for the FIBA EuroBasket Women event slated later in June.

Not only is France co-hosting, but the squad wants solid preparation prior to the Tokyo Olympics where it qualified.

Williams missing a huge portion of the WNBA season does not benefit the Sky either as the team wants to ensure a full roster that will be ready to compete throughout since they are paying their players, to begin with.

And who can blame Williams? The honor of being on the Olympic stage is every athlete’s ultimate dream.

With the United States being a powerhouse in women’s hoops, Williams opted to take a different route, taking advantage of her French lineage and dual citizenship.

Compared to the WNBA average salary of $75,000 (2019) and supermax of $221,450 for the 2021 season, players usually get more lucrative pay overseas.

Back in 2015, three-time champion Diana Taurasi sat out an entire WNBA season as she was paid by Russian club UMMC Ekaterinburg a staggering $1.5 million to do so—then almost 15 times of her $107,000 salary.

Even league commissioner Cathy Engelbert acknowledged the wage gap between the NBA and WNBA, per a Fortune report.

“It varies, but it’s not enough,” Engelbert said.

Veteran forward Elizabeth Williams also shared how “tough” it was to be away from family and home when players embark on offseason overseas journeys.

“It’s a sacrifice,” Williams said in 2018, per The Guardian. Sadly, some players, who are also full-time mothers, simply do not have the choice and have to play all year-round for sustainable income.

Unless William's situation serves as an example for powers-that-be to act and implement drastic changes in the near future, people can all agree: Neither her nor the Sky wanted any of the mess.

Gabby Williams WNBA
Gabby Williams of the Los Angeles Sparks and Sopron Basket. FIBA.basketball
MEET IBT NEWS FROM BELOW CHANNELS

© Copyright IBTimes 2022. All rights reserved.