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James Wade on Marina Mabrey trade: ‘Not f–king planning on losing’

The Chicago Sky acquired Marina Mabrey from the Dallas Wings, but they paid a hefty price. (Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Chicago Sky paid a hefty price in their blockbuster trade for Marina Mabrey, but coach and general manager James Wade defended the deal.

The 26-year-old guard came to Chicago from the Dallas Wings as part of a four-team trade, which saw the Sky give up a 2023 first-round draft pick and a 2024 first-round draft pick, plus three more draft picks. But Wade would rather have a player he knows rather than question marks, even despite stacked upcoming draft classes.

“I know what she does, and I know what she brings to the table,” Wade said of Mabrey. “So that’s who we’re going to rock with. I understand that the ’23 and ’24 draft picks can be great players.”

Still, he expressed confidence in the construction of his roster, for the 2023 season and beyond.

“I’m not f—ing planning on losing,” he told reporters Wednesday.

Mabrey averaged 12.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game through three seasons in Dallas. She averaged 13.6 points per game last season, a career high.

The former Notre Dame star joins a lineup headlined by 2021 WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper. Her addition helps offset the losses of Allie Quigley, Courtney Vandersloot, Emma Meesseman and Candace Parker.

The Sky also brought in guard Courtney Williams from the Connecticut Sun via free agency and re-signed guard Rebekah Gardner.

While Wade questioned the crowning of the Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty as superteams after their offseason moves, he also placed value in such moves over “draft capital” as a draw for players.

“I know what Marina brings, and I know that our players and other great players want to play with her,” Wade said. “I don’t know how much more they will want to play with draft pick ’23 or draft pick ’24. So you’ve got to weigh those things… That’s the risk that we were willing to take to get a great ball handler.”

Amid Mabrey and other new faces, Copper will be the longest-tenured player on the roster. As such, she joked about working as the “assistant GM” for the Sky this offseason, and Wade agreed: “She really was.”

Conversations with Copper “affected a lot of our decisions on what kind of team we’re trying to put around her,” Wade said.