Skylar Diggins-Smith is heading to the Seattle Storm, she announced on Instagram. She will sign a two-year deal worth $219,000 in the first year and $214,466 in the second, per Howard Megdal at The Next.
Diggins-Smith, 33, is one of the best point guards available in free agency and finished third in the league in scoring in 2022, averaging 19.7 points per game for the Phoenix Mercury. She also averaged 5.5 assists per game, nearly a career high, and 4.0 rebounds per game, a career mark. It earned her a fourth All-WNBA First-Team nod and votes for the MVP award.
Her landing spot has been the talk of this free agency period for more than a year after tension with the Mercury. She did not play last season while out on maternity leave.
The move will reunite her with former Notre Dame teammate Jewell Loyd. They played one season together in 2012-13 when Loyd was a freshman and Diggins-Smith a senior. Notre Dame lost to UConn in the Final Four.
Seattle cleared cap space on Wednesday ahead of the signing period by trading guard Kia Nurse and the No. 4 pick in this year's draft to the Los Angeles Sparks. It opened the possibility of two major signings for a team that finished outside of the playoffs for the first time since 2015. The Storm are in a new era after Sue Bird's retirement and Breanna Stewart joining the Liberty last offseason.
Diggins-Smith coming off maternity leave
Diggins-Smith did not play in 2023 after the birth of her second child and said the Mercury organization barred her from the practice facility and from using its resources. Their relationship was already fraught given the bench altercation with Diana Taurasi and clown emoji incident in 2022. There had been limited discussion by team personnel other than the comments Diggins-Smith was under contract and on maternity leave. She wrote on Twitter last year she was excited to play somewhere else.
The Mercury acquired Diggins-Smith in a 2020 trade with the Dallas Wings after she said she didn’t want to play for that franchise. She said on social media at the time that she did not feel supported by the organization during her first pregnancy and received “limited resources” from them while pregnant in 2019.
The Tulsa Shock, which moved to Dallas in 2015, drafted her No. 3 overall out of Notre Dame in the 2013 WNBA Draft. She spent six of her nine professional seasons with the franchise and earned four of her six All-Star nods.