Flames release Shyla Heal after unexplained absence

The Sydney Flames have released former WNBA first-round draft pick Shyla Heal, but still won’t reveal why father Shane is barred from coaching the team.

Neither father nor daughter have lined up for the Flames since January 15, with Shyla’s three-game absence put down to “personal reasons” but Shane’s left unexplained.

The 21-year-old guard has been linked with a return to the Townsville Fire, where she played immediately before being drafted to the WNBA.

The club are expected to release a statement later on Wednesday.

Shyla Heal joined the Flames in 2021 after leaving the Chicago Sky, the WNBA side that selected her with pick eight of that year’s draft.

In June 2021, the Sky traded Heal to the Dallas Wings, who immediately waived her.

Shane and Shyla Heal after the latter was drafted by WNBA.

The Flames released a brief statement on Wednesday confirming Heal had left the club.

“The Sydney Flames and Shyla Heal have agreed to a mutual release for the remainder of the 22-23 WNBL season,” a club statement read.

Shyla Heal, daughter of Australian basketball legend Shane Heal, was brutally axed from the WNBA.Credit:Getty

“The club has cleared the way for Shyla to seek other playing opportunities.

“The Flames would like to thank Shyla for her contribution to our club over the past two seasons and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.”

When contacted on Wednesday, the Flames would not reveal the reason Heal had sought a release from her contract, nor any updates to Shane Heal’s coaching situation.

Heal still has a season to run on his coaching contract but has been replaced by assistant Shelley Gorman for the last three games, all of which ended in defeat.

The former NBA guard returned to host News Corp’s The Basketball Show on Monday after it went on hiatus the week prior.

A WNBL spokesperson previously told said they were satisfied the Flames had provided sufficient detail as to Shane Heal’s absence.

The Flames sit second-last with four wins from 16 games this season and finished last in Heal’s first season coaching.


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