Sources: Delle Donne taking break from hoops

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Two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne has decided to take some time away from basketball and does not intend to sign the one-year supermax offer the Washington Mystics have presented her, sources told ESPN.

It is not clear how long the 34-year-old Delle Donne, who led the Mystics to their only title in 2019, intends to stay away from basketball, sources said.

WNBA free agency contracts could be signed starting Feb. 1, but Delle Donne continued to weigh her career options and decided this week that she needs more time to think about her future in the game, sources said.

Before the free agency process, Delle Donne, who has come back from multiple back surgeries, told the organization that she was unsure about her future, in the hopes she would not interfere with the Mystics’ offseason plans.

The Mystics responded by placing the core designation on Delle Donne, rather than take a chance on losing her without compensation in free agency.

A free agent who is designated as a “core player” effectively loses her unrestricted status as the team has exclusive negotiating rights. The player is automatically offered a one-year supermax and can explore other teams only if a trade is made.

If Delle Donne were to sit out the entire season, the Mystics could again place the core designation on her.

By placing the core on Delle Donne, Washington lost the ability to do so with Natasha Cloud, who signed with the Phoenix Mercury as a free agent.

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