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WNBA Trades: Connecticut acquires Bonner, Phoenix snags Diggins-Smith



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Earlier this week, the WNBA Free agency period started with big news from Angel McCoughtry and Krisit Toliver. But even with their news, rumors were circulating online about the demands made by Skylar Diggins-Smith and DeWanna Bonner. Both players expressed their want of getting away from their current teams: the Dallas Wings and Phoenix Mercury, respectfully.

Diggins-Smith missed last season with the Dallas Wings to give birth to her first child. She never hesitated to express her displeasure with the organization and wanting out of Dallas. The only questions left were would she be traded and where would she go?

The four-time All-Star did get her wish to leave the Wings and is now heading west to join the Mercury. In exchange for Diggins-Smith, Dallas now has the fifth and seventh picks in the upcoming 2020 draft and a 2021 first-round pick.

Skylar Diggins-Smith, Phoenix Mercury
Skylar Diggins-Smith of Dallas attacks against Phoenix’s Leilani Mitchell. Getty

Diggins-Smith averaged 17.9 points and 6.2 assists per game in 2018, the last time she played for Dallas. She led the team to the playoffs, however, they eventually were knocked out by Phoenix in the first-round.

“Players with Skylar’s skill set and ceiling don’t become available in free agency often,” said Mercury general manager Jim Pittman. “She was our top target this offseason, and we think teaming her with Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner will give us the league’s most dynamic offensive trio.”

More movement by Phoenix

Acquiring Diggins-Smith wasn’t the only transaction the Mercury made this week. Phoenix traded Bonner to the Connecticut Sun in exchange for three first round picks, including the Sun’s two in 2020 (7 and 10) and one in 2021.
The Sun are adding a 10-year vet who has only played for Phoenix.

DeWanna Bonner, Phoenix Mercury
DeWanna Bonner signals “1” during a game for the Phoenix Mercury. Getty

Bonner is a three-time All-Star and has won Sixth Woman of the Year three times in her career. Maybe most importantly, she will be bringing a winning mindset with two WNBA championships under her belt.

Bonner exits Phoenix ranked No. 1 in rebounds (2,072) and No. 2 in points (4,820) and games played (335) in franchise history. Last year Bonner averaged 17.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. She could be the piece the Sun need to capture its first championship.

In fact, Connecticut was one game away last year from winning the title after falling short to the Washongton Mystics in Game 5 of the Finals.

“I’m excited to play with this talented group and do whatever I can to help this organization hang its first championship banner,” Bonner said in the statement. “Nothing is more important to me than winning.”

Earlier this week the Sun signed rising star Jonquel Jones to a multi-year contract; Jones is a big piece to the future of the franchise.

Other transactions

Breanna Stewart — After suffering an Achilles tear before the WNBA season last year, Stewart is back on the court. She resigned to stay with the Seattle Storm.

Elena Delle Donne — Despite having back surgery recently, the first-time WNBA champion and reigning MVP will be back with the Washington Mystics in hopes of defending their crown.

Leilani Mitchell — With the transaction of Diggins-Smith, there was speculation of Mitchell exiting Phoenix. After a career year last season — where she averaged 12.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg and 4.0 apg and named Most Improved — Mitchell is headed back to the Washington Mystics where she played in 2016.

Glory Johnson –– The veteran forward also made her exit from Dallas after signing with the Atlanta Dream. Johnson is a two-time all-star who played her first seven season in the league with Dallas/Tulsa.

Rene' Kennedy
Rene' Kennedyhttps://theballout.com
Managing Editor of The Ball Out.

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