Skylar Diggins-Smith wants to be “supported and welcomed” by her next WNBA team.
The impending free agent hinted again at her rift with the Phoenix Mercury in an interview with Edition by Modern Luxury. The 33-year-old guard spent the 2023 season on maternity leave, and she seems set to depart the Mercury in the offseason.
In 2020, Diggins-Smith joined the Mercury via a sign-and-trade deal from the Dallas Wings after spending the 2019 season on maternity leave after the birth of her first child. Ahead of the 2023 season, she gave birth to her second child. Her desire to balance motherhood and her playing career created friction with her teams, she said.
“I’ve definitely been working towards trying to have one of my most productive years next year, because I think a lot of times—especially in sports—you’re not encouraged to have kids. And the teams that I played for in the past when I got pregnant didn’t like that,” she said. “And so I’m looking forward to being somewhere where my family and I are supported and welcomed.”
While she contemplates free agency, she is working her way toward her WNBA comeback. But she also is not pressuring herself.
“I have been trying to give myself grace and not putting that pressure on myself to be ready now,” she said. “I’m just going through flowing through the process. I’ve been feeling really good.”
And she knows she has time to get back into form. The next WNBA season is still more than six months away, so she is taking it “one day at a time” and spending time with her daughters.
“I hate this freaking snapback culture. Nope, I’m not conforming to that,” she said. “I was obviously blessed. I know not everybody has that luxury to take on maternity leave. So I was able to do that and just recover. So I didn’t feel the pressure to have to pop right back up to practice.”
Even still, she has “hated” missing this year as a competitor. But it’s made her eager to return next year.
And when she does return, she’ll be celebrating 10 years in the WNBA. That’s not something many players can say.
“It’s so dope. I wouldn’t even say 10% of women who come into the WNBA are able to sustain that for 10 years,” she said. “So I really am proud of that and I don’t take it for granted.”
Diggins-Smith “can’t wait to get back on the court again,” and she is excited to have her kids watch her play, she told Edition.
“I love for the idea for them to see me pouring into what I’m really passionate about and to see how high I can go,” she said. “You put your work into this craft, you don’t cheat it. It opened doors to me. … I definitely look forward to seeing what my personal best is because I feel like I still have more to give to the game.”