Angel McCoughtry returns to Atlanta Dream on multi-year deal

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15: Angel McCoughtry
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 15: Angel McCoughtry /

Angel McCoughtry is returning to the Atlanta Dream on a multi-year contract, the team announced Thursday.

McCoughtry also released a piece on Thursday on The Players’ Tribune, further explaining her thought process in deciding to sit out the 2017 WNBA season and to now return to Atlanta for 2018.

“I am excited to return to the Atlanta Dream for the upcoming WNBA season,” said McCoughtry in Thursday’s team release. “I look forward to reuniting with my Dream teammates and coaching staff to bring a championship to the city of Atlanta. We have a loyal and enthusiastic fan base who I can’t wait see when the WNBA season tips off.”

McCoughtry has spent all eight of her prior WNBA seasons with the Dream. She was taken first overall by Atlanta in the 2009 WNBA Draft out of Louisville. McCoughtry’s numerous WNBA accolades include two scoring titles, six All-WNBA selections, four All-Star appearances and seven All-Defense selections.

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McCoughtry was announced as Atlanta’s 2018 designated core player on January 15, which gave the Dream exclusive rights work out a deal.

“I’m elated to welcome Angel McCoughtry back to the Dream,” head coach Nicki Collen said Thursday. “As a former No. 1 overall pick, two-time Olympian and All-WNBA performer, she is so important to the Dream franchise. After time away from the WNBA, I believe she is reenergized and excited to be back in front of the Dream fans and her teammates and sees a bright future here in Atlanta.”

McCoughtry holds the WNBA Finals single-game scoring record (38 points) and single-game playoff scoring record (42 points). Her 19.5 career scoring average ranks third all-time.

“Her uncanny ability to make tough shots, her speed in the open floor and her creativity with the basketball make her a tremendous asset for our team,” Collen added. “I consider Angel one of the 10 best players in the world right now. She is special because of her ability to score the basketball at all three levels.  I believe with our current roster she could be a tremendous facilitator as well and have a career high in assists this season.”

Atlanta now has nine players guaranteed for 2018. 2017 All-Stars Tiffany Hayes, Layshia Clarendon and Elizabeth Williams return from last season along with Brittney Sykes and Imani McGee-Stafford (acquired in a midseason trade with the Chicago Sky).

The Dream have been very active on the free agent market, bringing three new players to town. Maggie Lucas is set to return to the WNBA after suffering a setback with her knee in training camp with the Fever last season.

Renee Montgomery and Jessica Breland signed with the Dream as unrestricted free agents, both impact rotation players. Montgomery brings playoff and championship experience to Atlanta.

Breland projects to start at power forward, solidifying the defense after Sancho Lyttle departed for Phoenix and opening up the floor on offense as one of the league’s premiere midrange shooting bigs.

Related Story: Atlanta Dream Offseason Primer

The WNBA schedule was released Thursday. The Dream open the season May 20 at Dallas. Atlanta will then host the Wings six days later for their home opener.