Dallas Wings re-sign Karima Christmas-Kelly

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 6: Karima Christmas-Kelly
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 6: Karima Christmas-Kelly /

The Dallas Wings made the biggest splash of the 2018 WNBA offseason in re-signing Liz Cambage, and now have officially re-signed Karima Christmas-Kelly. The seven year veteran out of Duke was one of team’s co-captains last season alongside All-WNBA point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith.

The Wings designated Christmas-Kelly as their core player at the start of the offseason, giving them exclusive negotiating rights to come to an agreement with her on a deal. Christmas-Kelly has started 101 games for the franchise in the past three seasons, dating back to 2015, the club’s final season in Tulsa.

Christmas-Kelly was drafted by the Washington Mystics with the 23rd overall pick in 2011. The Mystics waived her in July of that same year. Christmas-Kelly signed with the Tulsa Shock a day later. In July of 2012, she was shipped to Indiana in exchange for Roneeka Hodges. Christmas-Kelly entered free agency in 2015 and was signed by the Shock.

Diggins-Smith and Christmas-Kelly helped lead the Wings to the playoffs last season. Though they fell in the first round on the road against the Washington Mystics, the team’s young contributors and veterans alike gained some valuable experience against a team led by battle-tested stars in Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver.

In her 15th career playoff game, Christmas-Kelly logged 34 minutes and finished with six points, five rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block.

Christmas-Kelly was a member of Indiana’s championship team in 2012. She scored seven points and pulled down five rebounds in the Fever’s decisive Game 4 victory over the Minnesota Lynx.

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Wings head coach Fred Williams said the following in a team release:

"Karima is a great defensive specialist and an explosive scorer, that continues to be a strong leader on the court. Her efficiency and ability to play multiple positions on both ends of the floor makes her a triple threat player, which is invaluable to us. She’s an all-around player who our fans and community admire, and we couldn’t be happier that she will continue her career with the Dallas Wings."

The Wings posted a 104.0 offensive rating last season, good for fifth in the WNBA, and played at the league’s fastest pace. The improvement must come on the defensive end, where the Wings finished second-to-last in 2017. Williams will need his veteran frontcourt — Christmas-Kelly, Cambage and starting power forward Glory Johnson — to lead the way for the team to defend at a higher level next season, along with Diggins-Smith at the point of attack.

Christmas-Kelly added the following:

"Last season was a great run for us, and coming into this season, I know we have the right pieces in place to make that run even longer. I truly enjoy working with Coach Williams, he has such great knowledge of the game, and works so well with us in making sure that we are perfecting our crafts and taking our game to the next level. I’m excited to be part of this team."

Related Story: Dallas Wings Offseason Primer

The Wings now have 11 players under contract for the 2018 season and hold the sixth overall pick in the upcoming draft. The Summitt’s Howard Megdal currently has the Wings selecting 6’3 Maria Vadeeva out of Russia in his latest WNBA Mock Draft Big Board.