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Chennedy Carter, 2020 4th overall pick, signs training camp contract with Sky in start of WNBA return

Sports

Former Atlanta guard Chennedy Carter makes a “W” with her hands. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Standout guard Chennedy Carter is back.

The 25-year-old has signed a training camp contract with the Chicago Sky, the team announced Friday. It marks the first step in her return to the WNBA, and a smart move in the 2021 championship team’s rebuild.

Entering the league as the Atlanta Dream‘s fourth-overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, Carter was named to the All-Rookie team after averaging 17.4 points and 3.4 assists in 16 games. She finished second in Rookie of the Year voting.

While her talent was always evident, injuries and issues off the court began to hamper her promising career. She averaged 14.2 points during her sophomore campaign in Atlanta, which was limited to just 11 games due to an elbow injury. In July 2021, she was suspended indefinitely due to conduct “deemed detrimental to the team.”

Carter never returned to the court for the Dream following the suspension and she was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks in the offseason. In Los Angeles, she was briefly sidelined by a knee injury. General manager and coach Derek Fisher left the Sparks in June, and Carter was benched for four out of the six remaining games of the 2022 season by interim coach Fred Williams. She ended the 2022 season with averages of 8.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 16.4 minutes per game. She was released by the Sparks in the offseason and became a free agent after clearing waivers.

Without making a WNBA team during the 2023 season, Carter opted to play overseas. After averaging 24.1 points per game for Bursa of the KBSL in Turkey, she opened up to ESPN’s Andscape about her outlook.

“I’m pretty much in control of whenever I play. I’m in control of that,” Carter said. “I just want to find the best situation for me. I’m a talented player and I want to be utilized the right way.”

This year, she’s recording averages of 28.9 points and 8.4 rebounds over 14 games as she plays for Heilongjiang in China.

In Chicago, Carter is set to join first-year head coach and Hall of Famer Teresa Weatherspoon, who has proven her ability to develop talent. The Sky has made a flurry of moves in the span of a week. The team signed Diamond DeShields on Monday, welcoming her back from one season with the Phoenix Mercury after drafting her with the third overall pick in 2018. On Tuesday, Chicago traded 2021 Finals MVP Kahleah Copper to the Mercury, acquiring Bri Turner and Michaela Onyenwere.

They followed that up by signing 2021 fourth-overall pick Kysre Gondrezick to a training camp contract on Thursday. Carter and Gondrezick will be evaluated by the Sky in the preseason. If they’re found to be a fit, they’ll be eligible to sign one-year, non-guaranteed contracts between Feb. 1 and the first day of the regular season. The deals will be minimum salaries that won’t impact the salary cap until the first day of the regular season. If they’re not terminated at that point, they’ll convert to standard contracts.