The 2020 WNBA season came to a close earlier this month, when the Seattle Storm swept the Las Vegas Aces in the Finals to win their fourth title, tying the Minnesota Lynx and Houston Comets for the most in league history. Now, it's on to the offseason, and we already have our first big move.
On Wednesday, the Dallas Wings announced that they have mutually agreed to part ways with head coach Brian Agler after two seasons. Via the Wings' press release:
"We appreciate Brian's contributions to the Dallas Wings over the last two years," said Dallas Wings President and CEO Greg Bibb. "As we look to the future, we believe our team is talented and well-positioned for success. After discussions with Brian, we have elected to go in different directions. We are thankful for Brian's work, dedication to the community and his belief in our dynamic team. We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors."
A two-time WNBA champion, the 2010 Coach of the Year, and the all-time winningest coach in American women's basketball history, Agler arrived in Dallas after spending four seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks. Though he had plenty of success there, including winning the 2016 title, Agler resigned after the 2018 season, with the Los Angeles front office beset by scandal.
The Sparks' loss was the Wings' gain, as they brought in Agler to lead their rebuilding project. But even smart hires don't guarantee success. The young Wings went 18-38 in Agler's two seasons in charge, and missed the playoffs both times. Most outside observers expected that to be the case, however, and it's not clear how much the results factored into the team's decision. Based on the language of the press release, a difference in philosophy appears to be at least partially responsible for the change.
In any case, the next coach of the Wings will inherit a team that's extremely young -- no players over the age of 27 -- but quite talented. Arike Ogunbowale won the scoring title in just her second season, and was named to the All-WNBA First Team. Satou Sabally, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft, made the All-Rookie Team and flashed some serious potential despite dealing with injuries. Meanwhile, the likes of Allisha Gray and Tyasha Harris also showed encouraging signs in the backcourt, and veteran Kayla Thornton is an elite defender.
With the talent already in place, and another incoming lottery pick, there's a lot to be excited about in Dallas. They may still be a few years away, but the blueprint is there for success.