Stephanie Watts

Stephanie Watts

Less than a month after being traded from Los Angeles to Chicago, and roughly two months after being selected No. 10 overall in the WNBA Draft, former Weddington High basketball all-American Stephanie Watts was waived by the Sky on Sunday.

Watts played six games for Chicago after being traded. After seeing less than three minutes in her debut on May 15, Watts went on to play at least 15 minutes in each of Chicago’s next four games before going scoreless in six minutes in her final game with the team on May 30.

She struggled to find her footing offensively at the next level. In six games with the Sky, Watts averaged 2.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game while shooting 21.1% from the field and just 10% from 3-point range.

Watts’ best game as a professional so far came on May 28, when she totaled a career-high eight points on 3-of-8 shooting while adding five rebounds and a block.

Chicago seems to be heading in a completely new direction now after a 2-7 start to the season. Over the weekend, the Sky traded 2021 No. 8 overall pick Shyla Heal to Dallas for guard Dana Evans. Heal was subsequently waived by Dallas after the trade was completed.

According to Stephen Watts, Stephanie’s father, Chicago needed a point guard for its rotation, and the addition of Evans put the Sky over the cap, which caused the need to cut Stephanie. According to the WNBA’s rookie scale newly introduced in 2020, Watts was scheduled to make $63,751 in 2021 had she played a whole season.

Whether or not Watts signs with another team this season, she has already accomplished more than any other former Union County basketball player. Watts is the only former UC player selected in either the NBA or WNBA draft and the first to play in either league.

If Watts isn’t picked up by another WNBA team, she has the option of looking overseas for playing opportunities. In fact, many WNBA players play overseas during the WNBA offseason as a means to make more money.

According to queenballers.club, the average WNBA salary is just north of $120,000 a year, almost a 40% improvement from the $74,350 average they made in 2019. By comparison, the average NBA salary for 2020-21 was $7.7 million.