Report: Liz Cambage will return to WNBA in 2018, what does it mean for Wings?

Australian center Liz Cambage will return to the WNBA in 2018, the standout international big revealed to Nick Metallinos of ESPN Australia.

Cambage left no room for interpretation during a wide-ranging interview that touched on many of her passions.

“I definitely do want to be back in the WNBA next year,” Cambage said.

Dallas Wings general manager Gregg Bibb declined to comment on Cambage’s statement, but the Wings own Cambage’s rights for 2018, and have made no secret of their interest in Cambage.

Australia’s centre Elizabeth Cambage (2nd L) takes a shot between Serbia’s shooting guard Ana Dabovic (L) and Serbia’s centre Dragana Stankovic during a Women’s quarterfinal basketball match between Australia and Serbia at the Carioca Arena 1 in Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2016 during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. / AFP / Andrej ISAKOVIC (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

The development is an enormous one for the Wings, who have integrated their five rookies into Fred Williams’ system faster than expected, but still lack a legitimate rim protector on par with Cambage.

This is no knock on their current bigs, Courtney Paris and Theresa Plaisance, both of whom bring elite skills (rebounding and perimeter shooting, respectively). But Cambage, with size matched only by Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury, blocked 7.7 percent of shot attempts against her in 2013, her last season in the WNBA, and a percentage that would place her atop the 2017 leaderboard. (Griner leads at 6.8 percent.)

Consider also the way the Wings utilize athleticism to take chances on the defensive end. The Wings are tied for the league lead in steals. However, they rank eleventh in the league in defensive rating, largely because of the open shots often created when those chances go awry. The team they are tied with in steals, the Los Angeles Sparks, have ample defensive fallback options at the rim. Cambage is precisely the stopper necessary to provide the Wings with the same luxury.

So the red carpet treatment Cambage received in Dallas seems to be paying off.

Elizabeth Cambage, Tulsa Shock, rebounds during the Connecticut Sun V Tulsa Shock WNBA regular game at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. 2nd July 2013. Photo Tim Clayton (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

“It’s really cool what they’re doing in Dallas now,” Cambage said. “It’s a lot of the same people from when the organization was in Tulsa. It’s a lot more professional, it’s a lot better. It was a baby organization when it was in Tulsa. It was really nice to see how well they’re doing.”

In the meantime, she is enjoying her summer of rest and getting ready to play a vital part for Australia in the 2020 Olympics, motivated in part by Australia’s disappointing finish in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Still, for her fans stateside, the chance to watch her again sounds like it will come much sooner.

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