Phoenix Mercury All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith doesn’t seem to be long for the Grand Canyon State. Last month she took a dig at her head coach Vanessa Nygaard with a clown emoji. Diggins-Smith also got into it with teammate Diana Taurasi during a game against the Las Vegas Aces, this season. Now reports are that the Mercury want to trade the six-time All-Star.
The day after the WNBA All-Star starter and reserves were announced, Nygaard slammed the results and said Taurasi should be an All-Star. Diggins-Smith quote-tweeted the video of Nygaard with a clown emoji. Diggins-Smith has since deleted the tweet.
“I reiterate that she [Diana Taurasi] should be an All-Star,” Nygaard said. “There will be a game in Chicago, but it will not be an All-Star game because Diana Taurasi’s not playing.”
Taurasi is one of the greatest players in basketball history. Despite having a down year, she’s proved capable of having incredible moments and helping her team win. But given the talent and depth in the league this year, she’s not an All-Star.
The issue seems to be that while Taurasi wasn’t selected, Diggins-Smith was. Nygaard making those comments likely made Diggins-Smith feel some type of way. Thus the response on Twitter.
This wasn’t the first time Diggins-Smith has gone at Nygaard. During a game against the Dallas Wings, at halftime as the team is heading to the locker room. Diggins-Smith can be seen yelling “f****** bull s***” at Nygaard.
Then there was the infamous game in May where Diggins-Smith and Taurasi had to be separated by teammates after a disagreement on the bench.
It’s professional sports and teammates and coaches get into animated disagreements all the time. This is a hyper-competitive environment and these are among the most competitive people in the world. It happens.
“To a certain extent, this could have ramifications for Diggins-Smith, who has asked out of one organization, worn out her welcome with another, and has left many others around the league wary of adding her. And Phoenix is shopping her, multiple teams confirmed to me.”
Whether she was right or justified in her actions it’s all about perception. This isn’t a great look for Diggins-Smith. Despite her stellar All-Star level play, going at your coach and beefing with the franchise legend won’t get you any wins in the court of public opinion. Not to mention all of this is going on against the backdrop of Mercury center Brittney Griner being detained in Russia for over four months.
If teams are weary of bringing her on board because of chemistry issues, trading her will be difficult. Teams know Phoenix wants to move on from her, so they’ll likely lowball. Plus, she’s on a max deal and, just like in the NBA, you need cap space to trade for her or matching salary to go out.
At 31, she’s very productive, but she’ll need to join a team that can contend now. Another qualifier which limits potential trade partners.
Teams go through moments every season, it’s the reality of the business. There is still a possibility that all parties work out their differences and commit to moving forward.