Scenes from outside the currently under-construction Gateway Center Arena at College Park in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. The Gateway Center Arena at College Park open in November, and the city hopes the new venue will be a draw for the city. It’ll host the Hawks’ G-League, the Atlanta Dream and shows programmed by the Fox Theatre. (Photo/Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia native Courtney Williams is headed to the Dream

Georgia native Courtney Williams will return home to play for the Dream.

The move comes as part of a three-team trade that also involves the Connecticut Sun (Williams’ former team) and the Phoenix Mercury. 

In the trade, the Dream sent Jessica Breland and Nia Coffey to the Mercury and will receive the No. 17 overall pick in the 2020 WNBA draft.

Williams, a Folkston native, will receive a two-year, max deal and take up one of the Dream’s full-protection roster spots and earn $185,000 in 2020.

Last season with the Sun, Williams did not have a guaranteed contract and was paid $59,718, according to High Post Hoops’ salary database

The 5-foot-8 guard was a restricted free agent played in the 2019 WNBA Finals with the Connecticut Sun and averaged 17.9 points and 5.8 rebounds throughout the playoffs.

The team will immediately benefit from Williams’ dynamic scoring ability, midrange jumper and rebounding contributions as a guard, aligning with the team’s needs after the loss of Angel McCoughtry and Brittney Sykes.

With the pickup, Collen now will be coaching two players who started every game of the 2019 WNBA Finals, who also are players she coached while in Connecticut -- Williams and Shekinna Stricklen.

» Read moreA look at the Dream’s moves, money one week into WNBA free agency

Williams did not seem to want out of Connecticut, though it was insinuated in Sun coach Curt Miller’s statement following the trade announcement.

“We realize Courtney was a fan favorite, and we wish her the best in Atlanta,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and all the loyalty and support we’ve shown Courtney over the last four seasons, it became clear she no longer wanted to return to Connecticut.”

Williams responded in a lengthy Instagram post, writing, “This process was definitely not an easy one for me, and it truly showed me that it’s all about business, and that loyalty and emotion has no place in these type of negotiations. This was a hard pill for me to swallow, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hurt throughout this process.”

Now, she’s headed home. Williams also has the state abbreviation for Georgia tattooed on her left shoulder.

“I’m from Georgia, and I take pride in that,” she told the AJC last year before the finals. She also has star power. 

During the playoffs, she emerged as a national fan favorite for her personality and confidence, along with her on-court production.

Before the WNBA, she played for the University of South Florida and Charlton County High School, where she scored 42 points to break a record previously set by her mother.

Stay tuned for more Atlanta Dream updates throughout the WNBA’s free-agency period.

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