Just what would a Maya Moore trade return look like?
The shock of last week’s one-sentence press release from Minnesota Lynx general manager Cheryl Reeve, confirming that things are anything but settled regarding Maya Moore’s future with the team, continued to reverberate as the February 1 date for free agent signings to begin approaches.
Teams making plans around that list of available players, while paring down their draft targets (ahead of the April 10 WNBA Draft) suddenly had to face another prospect: is Maya Moore a potential target via trade?
To be sure, no one else on the free agent or draft lists could change a franchise’s direction quite as much as Moore, a four-time WNBA champion and former league MVP, still just 29 years old. Even in a down season, Moore led anyone else available on the free agent market, restricted or unrestricted, in 2018 win shares.
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While Moore’s 2019 intentions remain opaque for now, if she were to ask for a trade, organizations around the league would put together significant trade packages to try and add the most accomplished player in the league. We ran some trade ideas by WNBA talent evaluators to try and shape them.
Some caveats: for these to make sense, Moore would need to ask for an open-ended trade, rather than picking her team, which would significantly undercut Reeve’s leverage.
So if she said she would only go to Atlanta or sit out the season, for instance, Chris Sienko would be able to approach the deal in much the same way Mike Thibault did when the Sky traded Elena Delle Donne — taking Emma Meesseman off the table. Let’s assume, for the sake of this exercise, teams need to pay full value for Moore’s rights.
Moore could also just sit out the 2019 season, or retire, or try and play for the Birmingham Barons. A trade, though: that would shake up the WNBA offseason in seismic ways.
With that in mind, let’s look at this thought exercise: Maya Moore, on the open trade market. What would deals for her look like?