Chicago Sky agree to two-year deal with star Kahleah Copper

Sky star and 2021 Finals MVP Kahleah Copper has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the team, taking one of the biggest upcoming free agents off the market and securing stability in Chicago for the near future.

Copper's deal is for $241,984 for 2024 -- the supermax for that year -- and $248,134 in Year 2, her agent, Zack Miller of WME, told ESPN.

Keeping Copper in Chicago before her impending free agency was a huge priority for the Sky, including for Dwyane Wade, who joined the ownership group this summer. The front office will look to build around Copper, Marina Mabrey, Isabelle Harrison, Elizabeth Williams and Dana Evans, who are all under protected contracts for 2024.

"Chicago has been everything I could've asked for and more over the past seven seasons," Copper said in a statement. "This is where I've grown as a player, as a person, and where I'm proud to say I've become one with this community. This city doesn't cut corners and pours everything it has into each day. That's a standard I'm proud to upkeep. I'm ready and excited to grow and build on my legacy here and give this city, our fans, my teammates, coaches, and the entire Sky organization everything I have to bring another championship back home."

Added Sky principal owner Michael Alter: "We are thrilled Kahleah has decided to stay in Chicago, after winning a championship here and bringing so much success to Chicago. We know Kahleah's skill, leadership, drive, competitive spirit, passion, and energy will help fuel a winning culture in Chicago for years to come."

Behind a standout season, Copper helped keep the Sky on track to secure a fifth straight postseason appearance. Her 18.7 points per game are a career high, and she is averaging 40.4% from 3 on 4.5 attempts per game.

Copper -- a 6-foot-1 wing out of Rutgers who has spent seven of her eight WNBA seasons in Chicago -- is the sole remaining core player from the Sky's 2021 championship run following the departures of Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Emma Meesseman and Azura Stevens this past offseason.

Former general manager and coach James Wade intended to build around Copper in 2023, bringing in the likes of Mabrey, Courtney Williams, Elizabeth Williams and Harrison this past year. In the Mabrey deal, Wade traded away Chicago's 2023 and 2024 first-round picks and sent the pick swap rights for its 2025 first-rounder to Dallas, ensuring the team would have to look to win the next few years without young talent from the draft.

Copper and the Sky have faced plenty of challenges this season, with Harrison and Rebekah Gardner suffering season-ending injuries and Wade leaving in July for an NBA assistant-coaching job. Despite a 18-22 record, Chicago managed to become the eighth and final team to clinch a spot in the postseason Friday with a win over the Minnesota Lynx.

As the No. 8 seed, Chicago will face the Las Vegas Aces in a best-of-three first-round series.