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Chicago Sky head coach James Wade leaving for NBA job

(Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

Chicago Sky general manager and head coach James Wade is leaving the WNBA and taking an assistant coaching job with the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, the Sky announced on Saturday.

Wade was Chicago’s head coach since 2019, leading the franchise to its first WNBA title in 2021.

“We are thrilled that James can fulfill a lifelong dream to join the NBA, and we send him our warmest congratulations and best wishes,” Sky Principal Owner Michael Alter said in a statement. “We thank James for establishing a winning, team-oriented culture in Chicago and leading the Sky to our first ever WNBA Championship in 2021.”

Wade’s departure is the latest in a series for the Sky. Former players Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Azurá Stevens all signed with new teams for the 2023 WNBA season, while Allie Quigley left the team but is sitting the season out.

Chicago assistant coach Emre Vatansever will serve as interim general manager and head coach, beginning immediately. Chicago (7-9) plays next on Sunday against the Indiana Fever (5-10).