We are just a couple of months away from the 2017 Draft, and we have seen some very interesting trades happen so far this offseason. The biggest is of course the trade that has sent Elena Delle Donne to the Mystics.
Is this the biggest trade in WNBA history? Some say yes, others say no. My opinion is that on paper, yes this is the biggest trade in league history, but time will only tell if it really has the impact on the Washington Mystics that they hope it may have. Delle Donne is an MVP player that can do it all, score from inside and out, pass, rebound, block shots, and she is the most efficient player from the free throw line. There are few players in the league, if any, that can impact the entire game like Delle Donne does. But the Mystics have to hope she can stay healthy and fit in and play well with a whole new group of teammates.
Did Chicago get a fair deal out of the trade, getting Stefanie Dolson and Kahleah Copper as well as the second pick in the draft this year? I think they fared about as well with this deal as they could have hoped for, especially considering the position they were in. Delle Donne is arguably the best player in the league, and she really forced her way out of Chicago. She publicly and openly voiced her displeasure for playing for the Sky, ostensibly to the point that the Sky had no other option but to trade her. Dolson and Copper are both very good, young players, and both still have plenty to prove to the rest of the league. Add in the #2 pick and I think the Sky have a real opportunity to create a better team atmosphere, as well as continue to build a young core of real talent, especially with a player like Imani Boyette in the front court. However, if the rumors are true, it’s going to take some real ownership/front office changes if the Sky want to keep the talent like Boyette from leaving.
The next biggest trade is the three team deal that sends Carolyn Swords to Seattle, with Washington getting Seattle’s 6th and 18th picks in the draft, while New York gets center Kia Vaughn and guard Bria Hartley. The short term winner of this deal is Seattle, getting a proven, defensive center in Swords, who can really help Breanna Stewart in the front court. The long term winners could be the Mystics, with an uncertain draft class this year, Washington’s picks could go either way, and with adding Delle Donne, they are now much closer to getting to, and making a real push in the playoffs. New York is probably the team that fares the worst in this trade, as Bria Hartley finds herself in a crowded back court minutes wise, but injury to anyone else could make her role on the Liberty more prominent. They did get a veteran center in Vaughn, who should help Tina Charles shoulder the rebounding and defensive load.
The third biggest trade is Danielle Robinson going to Phoenix in exchange for Isabelle Harrison and the Mercury’s fifth pick. This certainly gives the Mercury one of the best back courts in the WNBA, with the retirement of Penny Taylor, Danielle Robinson serves as a great compliment along side Diana Taurasi, as well as Taurasi’s possible long term replacement when she retires as well.
The last moves I need to mention are Erika De Souza going to San Antonio and Plenette Pierson going to the Minnesota. With the De Souza signing, the Stars are getting a much needed bolster at center, and De Souza is in a town that seems will be a better fit all around. Plenette Pierson going to the Lynx is an interesting move, because you have to wonder whose minutes she’ll be taking, and if that means a player like McCarville has to be let go, my bet is that Minnesota is willing to do to make room for Pierson.
It has been a very exciting offseason thus far, and we can only hope the draft brings as much interest and that excitement and interest really carries into the start of the season. Will any more big trades happen? It’s hard to say, but this offseason, at this point, nothing would surprise me.