Sky waive Kysre Gondrezick as team looks to find right mix of contracts, fresh help

Sky general manager Jeff Pagliocca is making midseason moves, starting with waiving guard Kysre Gondrezick.

The decision Friday came just ahead of the halfway mark of the season, at which point non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed. Gondrezick was originally signed to a training-camp contract, which was converted to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal before the start of the season. She appeared in five regular-season games, including Thursday night’s 95-83 loss to the Aces.

With Gondrezick gone, the Sky (6-10) now have 10 available players on their roster after center/forward Elizabeth Williams had season-ending surgery on her right meniscus this week. It’s unlikely they’ll sign anyone ahead of their game against the Lynx on Sunday.

However, over the next week and a half, teams will begin waiving players signed to non-guaranteed contracts, which could be a way for the Sky to add talent. Pagliocca also could opt to give guard Brynna Maxwell another look. The Sky drafted her 13th overall in April but waived her after she injured her knee the next month in training camp.

Teams can begin using seven-day contracts in the second half, giving the Sky another avenue to try out players without having to sign them for the rest of the season, which comes with a full salary commitment, even if the player is waived. A player is only permitted to sign three seven-day contracts with the same team per season.

The Sky’s three-point struggles were on full display again Thursday. After finishing 4-for-15 (26.6%) against the Aces, they’re now last in the league in three-point percentage, averaging 29.9% through 16 games. Only 16.1% of their points have come from behind the arc — also last in the WNBA.

Addressing that problem could be justification for Maxwell returning. Other guards Pagliocca could consider are free agents Crystal Dangerfield, Dyashia Fair and Emma Cannon.

Until Gondrezick connected in the final two minutes, guard Marina Mabrey was the only Sky player to score from deep against the Aces, going 3-for-8 and finishing with a team-high 21 points. The Aces, meanwhile, were 9-for-25 from deep (36%) and scored 15 points from three-point range in the second half alone.

How can the Sky make up for such a glaring difference?

“We have to play better defense,” coach Teresa Weatherspoon said after the game.

But defense alone won’t close the gap.

Six weeks into the season, Weatherspoon is still figuring out her rotations. Guard Dana Evans is one of the team’s best spot-up shooters, hitting 35.4% from three-point range this season, but she has seen her minutes dwindle, from an average of 26.7 to 17 combined the last two games. Weatherspoon moved her out of the starting five June 16 in favor of Lindsay Allen and Chennedy Carter.

That decision had considerable benefits. Allen’s facilitating and Carter’s scoring have helped the Sky to be more effective early. And Evans can now be more of an off-ball scoring threat.

However, she played under five minutes against the Aces.

“That group was rolling,” Weatherspoon said of her lineup Thursday. “We were just trying to see if they could roll us up out of the hump that we were in.”

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