By Ari Chambers and Howard Megdal
Tina Charles, the all-time leading scorer in New York Liberty history, is on her way to the Washington Mystics in a three-team trade, in a blockbuster deal that shakes up much of the 2020 WNBA Draft.
The Dallas Wings are also involved in the deal, reports Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press.
The move reunites Mike Thibault, who coached Tina Charles with the Connecticut Sun, with a player who won an MVP award under Thibault in 2012.
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The move also allows the Liberty to add significant additional pieces to their 2020 rebuild around Sabrina Ionescu, the presumed number one pick in Friday night’s draft, while taking on Tayler Hill’s salary to help offset Dallas’ roster crunch issues.
“Tina Charles is a name that will forever be synonymous with New York basketball,” said Liberty General Manager Jonathan Kolb in a press release Wednesday. “Over the past six seasons, Tina has cemented herself not only in the Liberty record books, but in the hearts of New Yorkers everywhere due to her tireless and selfless work in the community. On behalf of the New York Liberty organization I thank Tina and wish her well in Washington.”
That group offers significant upside, but also represents a new era following one with huge promise after New York acquired Charles, a New York product who quickly turned the Liberty into contenders. She often stated her goal was to win a championship in New York.
Now, playing for the defending champs, the odds of doing so in 2020 likely went up. And the Liberty get a fresh start.
For Thibault, the fit is clear.
“We are extremely excited to bring Tina Charles to the Washington Mystics. It gives us a dynamic new weapon at both ends of the floor,” Thibault said Wednesday. “Having coached Tina before in Connecticut, I know what a huge impact she can have on the game every single night. Her ability to score inside and out will make our offense even more dangerous than in the past. Her willingness to share the ball will make it tough for opponents to double team her or Elena (Delle Donne) or Emma (Meesseman) or any of our other scorers. She is one of the best rebounders in the history of the league and that is an area that we have been looking to improve going into the upcoming season. I also think her competitive fire will be appreciated by her new teammates and she will in turn thrive in our environment. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to coach Tina again.”
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