Mystics star Elena Delle Donne taking break from basketball, AP source says

Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne is stepping away from basketball, potentially for the entire season, a person familiar with the decision said Thursday.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.

The two-time MVP was designated as a core player by the Mystics before free agency began last week. She has been at an impasse with Washington regarding her contract. The core designation guaranteed Delle Donne the WNBA’s maximum salary of $241,984.

ESPN first reported Delle Donne’s decision.

The 34-year-old star had a few options once the Mystics used the core designation. She could sign the one-year deal and play for Washington; sit out the season; or agree to a sign-and-trade and play elsewhere.

The Mystics were looking for high draft picks for Delle Donne if they were going to trade her, and there have been limited options. She’s only played in 51 games since Washington won the franchise’s only league title in 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and injury issues.

The All-Star averaged 16.7 points and 5.4 rebounds in 23 games last season.

Delle Donne has been busy in the offseason, starting Deldon Wines — the first-ever wine brand from a WNBA star.

Delle Donne, who has undergone multiple back surgeries, was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft. She was league MVP in 2015 with Chicago and 2019 with Washington.

Off the court, Delle Donne is co-chair of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition, an advisory body that promotes healthy eating and exercise.