The clown emoji appears to be the limit for the Mercury’s front office, which, according to The IX’s Howard Megdal, has begun to shop the All-Star and team-leading scorer. Phoenix has had a tough season under first-year head coach Vanessa Nygaard, posting a 9-14 record to date which wouldn’t qualify for the playoffs.
Brittney Griner, one of the world’s best players, is wrongfully detained in Russia, and her absence is felt in ways beyond just on the court. Trying to fill her spot with future Hall of Fame forward Tina Charles didn’t work as the sides cut ties a week ago, and she landed with the Storm. Diana Taurasi is having a tough season on both ends of the court, and though Diggins-Smith has been the bright spot, scoring 19.1 points per game with 5.0 assists, Phoenix appears to be weighing its options.
Will the Mercury actually trade Diggins-Smith?
The deadline to move her is coming soon on July 15, but a trade is going to be hard to swing. The WNBA operates under a hard cap with just 11- or 12-player rosters, making it hard to match salaries via trade without losing too many rotation players. Diggins-Smith has two years left on a supermax contract.
Also, in a 12-team league, there are few suitors who’d likely make a move that bold this late into the season. The Sky, Aces, Sun, Storm and Mystics all appear to be built to win as is, and Diggins-Smith requested a trade from the Wings three years ago to get to Phoenix in the first place. That’s already half the league.
The Sparks and Dream are a pair of fringe playoff teams that could use an upgrade like Diggins-Smith, but it’s unclear who either would part with. The Liberty are already set at the guard spots, the Fever are in a rebuild, and the Lynx are just starting to click with their current rotation.
It’s not impossible, but chances are, a trade may have to wait until the offseason.
Should the Mercury try to make a deal happen?
I mean, no lol. Diggins-Smith is one of the best guards on the planet, and won’t be easy to replace. Plus, she’s only 31 years old, still in the prime of her career. With Taurasi’s exit looming, passing the keys off to Diggins-Smith should be a priority.