James Wade, head coach and general manager of the Chicago Sky, leaves these positions to join the Toronto Raptors as an assistant coach.
The Sky announced the move on Saturday, emphasizing a “seamless transition” to life without Wade.
“Chicago Sky’s mission has always been to elevate and celebrate our world-class athletes and staff, and James’ tremendous achievement is another exciting indicator of the WNBA’s incredible growth and the recognition of our coaches. and outstanding players who continue to reach new heights,” the team said in a statement. “Chicago Sky is committed to a smooth transition and a successful 2023 season, and we will continue to build on our championship culture by making significant investments in the Chicago Sky organization this season and for many years to come. years to come.”
Wade, 47, is 81-59 with the Sky over four WNBA seasons and 13-8 in the playoffs. His resume also includes Sky’s 2021 WNBA championship, the first in franchise history. Last year, he signed a contract extension with the Sky which was to last until 2025. Wade is leaving to join the Raptors’ new staff, led by new head coach Darko Rajaković, who was hired last month.
“We are thrilled that James can fulfill his lifelong dream of joining the NBA, and we send him our warmest congratulations and best wishes,” said Sky owner Michael Alter. “We thank James for establishing a winning, team-oriented culture in Chicago and leading the Sky to our first-ever WNBA championship in 2021.”
To replace Wade in the short term, Sky have appointed Emre Vatansever as interim head coach and general manager.
That’s a lot of change in a short time for the Sky. They won their first championship less than two years ago but now have a roster with no familiar names like Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot and stars like Candace Parker. They are currently in sixth place with a 7-9 record.
Sky’s first game without Wade (and with Vatansever as head coach) is Sunday at 4 p.m. ET against the Indiana Fever.