Phoenix Mercury trade Cayla George to Connecticut Sun

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 18: Tianna Hawkins
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 18: Tianna Hawkins /

In the first sign-and-trade deal of the offseason, the Phoenix Mercury have traded forward Cayla George to the Connecticut Sun for a 2018 second round draft pick.

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The two teams announced the move on Friday. George, a two-year pro, appeared in 66 games for the Mercury in 2015 and 2017. She missed the 2016 season to compete for Australia in the 2016 Olympics. George fell out of the Mercury rotation in the postseason, logging just two minutes in total.

“We loved having Cayla as a part of our organization and we wish her the best in Connecticut,” said Mercury general manager Jim Pitman in Friday’s release.  “As we assemble our 2018 roster, this move gives us another asset to improve our team.”

The Mercury acquired Connecticut’s own 2018 second rounder — the 21st overall pick in this year’s upcoming WNBA draft. The Sun still hold one 2018 second round pick, having acquired Atlanta’s 2018 second rounder in the Jordan Hooper trade last June.

As of Friday’s announcement, four members of Connecticut’s frontcourt rotation remain on the market. 2017 All-Star and All-Defense selection Alyssa Thomas is a restricted free agent. Sun head coach and general manager Curt Miller has indicated he intends to match any offer for her.

Danielle Adams, Kayla Pedersen and Lynetta Kizer are unrestricted free agents this offseason.

“We are excited about the opportunity to obtain Cayla,” Miller said Friday. “She is a versatile and veteran post player who fits our style of play. She is an excellent face-up post player who helps create spacing at the offensive end of the floor. She is an underrated defensive rebounder and provides added length to our post game. She is widely considered an outstanding teammate, so she adds to our culture in the locker room.”

Related Story: Connecticut Sun Offseason Primer

The Sun announced Thursday that they had re-signed Shekinna Stricklen. Having acquired George, the Sun now have nine guaranteed contracts on their books, including Chiney Ogwumike, who is set to return from an Achilles tear. Retaining Alyssa Thomas and signing 2016 second round pick Leticia Romero would push Connecticut’s roster count to 11.