The Liberty traded away the highest decide on this 12 months’s draft and Kia Nurse, their prime scorer final season, as a part of a flurry of offers throughout the W.N.B.A. on Wednesday that additionally introduced the All-Star Natasha Howard to New York.
The Liberty acquired Howard as a part of a three-team take care of the Seattle Storm and the Phoenix Mercury. Howard, a three-time W.N.B.A. champion, offers a stable inside participant for the Liberty to pair with final season’s No. 1 general draft decide, Sabrina Ionescu. As a chosen core participant for Seattle, Howard needed to approve the commerce.
The Liberty additionally despatched the No. 1 decide within the draft this 12 months and the Mercury’s 2022 first-round decide to the Storm. The Liberty acquired that decide from Phoenix by sending Nurse and Megan Walker to the Mercury for the sixth decide this 12 months and their first-round alternative subsequent 12 months.
The No. 1 decide didn’t keep in Seattle lengthy, because the Storm traded it to Dallas for Katie Lou Samuelson and the Wings’ second-round decide in 2022. The Wings grow to be the primary group in W.N.B.A. historical past to carry the primary and second general picks in the identical draft. As well as, Dallas additionally holds the fifth, seventh and thirteenth picks in 2021.
“The chance to accumulate the highest decide in a draft doesn’t current itself fairly often,” mentioned Greg Bibb, the Wings’ president and chief government. “By securing this decide, we are going to guarantee our means to draft the participant on the prime of our draft record whereas having extra draft belongings at our disposal to additional enhance our group.”
It’s solely the third time within the league’s historical past that the highest decide within the draft has been traded. On draft night time in 2007, Phoenix traded the No. 1 decide to the Minnesota Lynx. Three years later, the Lynx despatched the highest decide to Connecticut in a deal for Lindsay Whalen, who’s from Minnesota.
There’s a whole lot of uncertainty about who will likely be accessible to be picked on this 12 months’s draft. The N.C.A.A. granted each participant an additional 12 months of eligibility, that means prime seniors like Dana Evans of Louisville and Michaela Onyenwere of U.C.L.A. might return to varsity subsequent 12 months.
Additionally on Wednesday, in a separate commerce with Seattle, the Liberty received guard Sami Whitcomb for the rights to Stephanie Talbot.
“We have now the privilege of welcoming multiple-time W.N.B.A. champions Natasha Howard and Sami Whitcomb to Brooklyn,” Liberty Normal Supervisor Jonathan Kolb mentioned. “The magnitude of Natasha selecting to be in New York can’t be overstated. She is an All-W.N.B.A. expertise who has labored for and earned all the pieces that she has achieved, who has contributed to championship runs on a number of groups, and who will match seamlessly into Walt Hopkins’ system.”
Howard gained the league’s Defensive Participant of the 12 months Award in 2019. The 29-year-old ahead gained one title in Minnesota, in 2017, and two titles in Seattle, in 2018 and final season.
“I’m very excited to be part of the New York Liberty group,” Howard mentioned. “I’m additionally excited to satisfy my new teammates and the followers. I’m so pumped in regards to the 2021 season.”
Howard averaged 9.5 factors and seven.1 rebounds final season whereas capturing 53 p.c from the sector.
Whitcomb was a key member of the Storm’s franchise the previous few years. The 32-year-old is a stable 3-pointer shooter.
Nurse, the Liberty’s tenth general choice within the 2018 draft, averaged 11.6 factors, 2.6 rebounds and a couple of assists per recreation over 89 contests (59 begins) throughout her three-year tenure. She led the group in scoring final season with 12.2 factors per recreation.
The Liberty drafted Walker ninth general final season, and he or she averaged 3.3 factors and 1.5 rebounds whereas taking part in in 18 video games.
“I want to thank Kia Nurse and Megan Walker for his or her contributions to our group,” Kolb added. “The unlucky a part of transactions resembling these is that it’s important to say goodbye to individuals who have contributed to the group in so some ways. ”
Lastly, the Lynx traded ahead Mikiah Herbert Harrigan to the Storm for the 2022 first-round decide they’d acquired from Phoenix by way of the Liberty.