Two trades the day after the draft are shaking things up.
On Thursday, the simultaneous announcement of two WNBA trades slightly confused everyone (including me). But here’s what happened.
The Las Vegas Aces sent forward Nia Coffey to the Atlanta Dream in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2020 WNBA draft.
Then, the Aces traded that 2020 second-round pick to the New York Liberty to receive guard Sugar Rodgers.
The Liberty sent a 2020 second-round pick to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for veteran Tanisha Wright. New York sent their 2020 second round draft pick to the Lynx, not the one they received from the Aces.
It’s not quite a four-team deal, but… almost.
So what does each team get?
Las Vegas Aces
The Aces are trying to make the playoffs. Las Vegas had the No. 1 picks from the last two drafts – Jackie Young and A’ja Wilson, 2018 Rookie of the Year and a WNBA All-Star.
Rodgers can complement Young and Wilson, and according to what Aces General Manager Dan Padover said in a press release, serve as a veteran – Rodgers was drafted in 2013 – who can help bring the Aces over the hump.
“Her ability to shoot from long distance will allow us to spread the floor, and she is a very sound defensive player,” Padover said in the press release. “She is also familiar with our system, has a high basketball IQ, and will be a great teammate on and off the court.
After one season with Minnesota, Rodgers became a solid perimeter piece for the Liberty, averaging 8 points, 1.7 and 2.8 rebounds per game throughout her career.
To get Rodgers, Las Vegas sent Nia Coffey to the Dream.
More from Atlanta Dream
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, October 19: NCAA shakes up schedules, not scholarships
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, September 28: All-Rookie team announced
- Women’s Basketball, September 17: NCAA Hoops to start Nov. 25
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, September 14: Mystics are going dancing
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, September 10: Dream are (mathematically) stayin’ alive
Nicki Collen not only wants to continue to elevate Atlanta’s offense – she said as much on draft night – but she’s continuing to add young players she sees potential in to do it.
With her trades over the last 24 hours, Collen has added Marie Gülich – drafted by the Phoenix Mercury in 2018 and Coffey – drafted by then-San Antonio Stars in 2017 to her roster. Not only does Collen seem willing to mold these players, she’s still looking to fill big shoes to start the 2019 season.
With Gülich, Collen sees an opportunity to add to what she lost with Damiris Dantas, who is now with the Lynx, with an expanded offensive repertoire. And Coffey could potentially be a young bright scoring addition to the roster, as Angel McCoughtry continues to recover.
After a quiet rookie year in 2017, last season Coffey averaged 5.3 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, and notched a career-high 23 points vs. the Storm in May and a double double (11 points, 12 rebounds) vs. Mercury in June.
“(Coffey’s) combination of toughness, athleticism and skill will give us versatility at both the small forward and power forward position,” Collen said in a press release. “We believe her best basketball is still ahead of her and her work ethic at both ends of the floor will be an asset to the Dream roster.”
New York Liberty
New York gave up Sugar Rodgers and a 2020 second round pick, and received Tanisha Wright, a veteran set to begin her 14th WNBA season.
With the Lynx last season, Wright contributed 4.3 points, 2 assists, and 1.6 rebounds per game, but is one of only 10 WNBA players in history to score 3,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,200 assists.
Wright was with the Liberty as recently as 2016, so New York knows what to expect – and that may be more veteran leadership.
“We could not be more thrilled to welcome Tanisha Wright back to the Liberty family,” Liberty General Manager Jonathan Kolb added. “Tanisha is a consummate professional and is the type of culture builder we look for.”
Following the deal with the Liberty, Lynx head coach Cherly Reeve now has one fewer Tanisha Wright, and an additional 2020 second round draft pick in her pocket.
Reeve added plenty of young talent on a busy draft night, but has plenty of veterans and is also dealing with Lindsay Whalen’s retirement, Maya Moore’s absence and Rebekkah Brunson’s concussion issues.
So though the Lynx didn’t make the most noise with this deal, they added a second round pick to replace the 2019 one they gave up to add Lexie Brown.
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