Angel McCoughtry won’t be cored by Atlanta Dream, is free agent

A possible parting of the ways

Veteran Atlanta Dream forward Angel McCoughtry will not receive core designation from the Dream and will test free agency for the first time in her 10-year WNBA career, the team announced Monday night.

“The Atlanta Dream have decided, after conversations with Angel McCoughtry and her representation, to allow her to test free agency for the first time in her career,” the Dream’s statement read. “While the Dream could have used the Core designation to keep Angel’s rights and control her future, this provides her the freedom to speak with any team. Angel has been a mainstay in Atlanta since she was drafted first overall in the 2009 WNBA draft. In choosing free agency, the door remains open for Angel to return to Atlanta as she explores other opportunities.”

McCoughtry missed the entire 2019 season after suffering a knee injury at the end of the 2018 season, in which the Dream made the WNBA semifinals. In 2019, the Dream posted a league-worst 8-26 record.

In her previous nine seasons in Atlanta, McCoughtry was a key player after being drafted first overall in 2009. She was WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2009 and made the All-Star game five times, most recently in 2018.

McCoughtry received core designation in both 2018 and 2019, and will now be a free agent for the first time in her career. The Dream’s statement left the possibility open that McCoughtry will return to Atlanta, and that is indeed a possibility — but it seems relatively unlikely at this point.

After missing the entire 2019 season, McCoughtry made a ceremonial appearance in the Dream’s final game of the campaign. There’s a sense that McCoughtry is ready for a change of scenery, and it seems that the Dream may be ready for a change as well.

It’s unclear as of now what will happen — free agency officially opens on Jan. 28 and players can begin to sign with teams on Feb. 10 — but whatever happens, it will certainly be something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.

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