In a year where the talent has continued its uptick, the All-Star break arrived with nine of the 12 WNBA squads under the .500 mark. The trade deadline is Wednesday so here’s a look into trades that I think can improve each of those squads.
The trades that follow are based on benefits moreso for the team listed; some trades may benefit both teams and some will not. Some of these trades may also not fit monetarily, but as I’m not one to speculate since I don’t know the specifics of the CBA or individual player contracts, these trades are hypothetical and what I think are in the best interest of improving the team looking to make the trade once we get toward the deadline this Wednesday.
So here’s a look at each team and details on how the trade benefits the team.
EASTERN CONFERENCE Indiana Fever
Lynetta Kizer to D.C. for the rights to Quanitra Hollingsworth
I actually like this trade for both sides. The Mystics are campaigning Dolson/Vaughn together due to their lack of a true backup 4 behind Emma Meesseman and Kizer gives them a hometown talent that’s young and will be returning each year. Hollingsworth is a talented player but she’s making more money playing for Turkey and helping them qualify for international competitions. But I like this trade even more for Indy.
I was never a fan of Catchings playing the 4 and when it worked in 2012, we all got quiet on it. But with her returning from a back injury, when you consider Erlana Larkins is only 6’1 and Howard can’t defend a 5 in the WNBA, it gives them size and options. You could slide Catch to the three, where they’ve gone back and forth with the hot hand between Karima Christmas and Marissa Coleman, Larkins to her true spot at the 4 and start Hollingsworth. Or you can continue with the current starting lineup and have her playing minutes off the bench. Either way, it gives them an offensive threat from the post position that they haven’t gotten with Krystal Thomas and it really allows for the team to have a better ability to match-up on a nightly basis.
Monique Currie to San Antonio for Shenise Johnson
Mike Thibault has made it very clear that he’s looking towards the future. This gives the team a core perimeter of Bria Hartley, Tayler Hill, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Johnson to move forward. All four players can create their own shot, compete on the defensive end, are young and energetic. Johnson isn’t getting the minutes that her talent calls for due to the addition of Kayla McBride along with the return of Becky Hammon.
Currie gives Hughes another solid presence on the defensive end and Currie has started to pick up her play recently. This also clears the wing spot for Thibault to experiment with Milovanoic at the three spot, and I’ve liked what I’ve seen from her, while also clearing the D.C. fanbase fully of the atrocity that was the Trudi Lacey era.
Kelsey Bone to Chicago for Markeisha Gatling
Anne Donovan’s love/hate relationship with Kelsey Bone has been on display this season. I personally am rooting for Kelsey to get it together but the one glaring hole this team has is at the center position. Chiney Ogwumike needs to be on the floor for this team to season and she’s not going to if she keeps having to guard centers. Gatling also has shot 67% from the field this season compared to 43% for Bone. While Gatling’s production has been in less minutes, she’s repeatedly impressed me by STILL, at the WNBA level, finishing through multiple defenders and sometimes over and through some of the best centers in the league. Gatling also ranks #9 in the WNBA in blocks per 40 minutes with 1.8. Bone? While 6’4″, and in 80% more minutes that Gatling this season is only averaging 0.4 blocks to Gatling’s 0.6
New York Liberty
Essence Carson to Atlanta for Jasmine Thomas
This is another trade I like for both sides. For Atlanta, it frees up minutes for Schimmel (and contrary to belief after her All-Star game performance, she deserves minutes, yes, but she is not ready to be a full-time starter) while also giving them a legit option off-the-bench at the two-guard spot. Matee Ajavon is NOT the answer for this team and the change of scenery should benefit Carson. Coop can justify giving her the minutes he hasn’t given to Schimmel or Ajavon because she’s a capable defender while also being able to create shots from the perimeter.
For the Libs, it gets Cappie Pondexter off the backup point guard spot. With her struggling with injury, you don’t need the added pressure of having her handle the ball while trying to get back into the playoff picture. Thomas fits Laimbeer’s mold of bigger point guards at 5’9 and she also helps their perimeter shooting: for the months of June and July so far, Thomas has shot 41% and 40% respectively from trey after starting the season slowly (1-9)
Tamera Young and Gennifer Brandon to Seattle for Crystal Langhorne
The initial trade of Langhorne to Seattle immediately screamed stopgap for me. Agler is well-known for preferring his own veteran players (Camille Little/Tanisha Wright) and somebody is going to be odd-man out if Lauren Jackson returns next season. After an awe-inspiring start to the season, Jessica Breland has come back to Earth. For the month of July, her averages are down to 8.7 points on 39% shooting and in a lot of games, she’s not even finishing the game in the lineup.
This gives the Sky another scorer to help Sylvia Fowles and Epiphanny Prince until Elena Delle Donne returns, allows Breland to return to playing backup minutes would should help re-establish her productivity, but mainly it keeps Delle Donne from playing the four spot defensively. Langhorne herself is a sieve defensively but she’s always been a post and may improve having an actual post stopper behind her in Fowles. Neither of the players sent to Seattle would likely stick anyway so Chicago could possibly bring Young back because she hasn’t been awful for them.
WESTERN CONFERENCE San Antonio Stars
Shameka Christon to L.A. for Sandrine Gruda
Both players seem to be in obvious need of a change of scenery. Christon has struggled to regain her pre-injury form and doesn’t have the chance to do so now with the youth Hughes has brought in that he prefers, and rightfully so. Gruda’s game shows that she expected to have a larger role as she immediately is chucking the ball at the rim as soon as she checks in. She’s someone that you have to guard and Hughes gets a major upgrade over his starting center. Gruda is passable defensively and finishing the game with a lineup of her and Danielle Adams makes an opponent have to really commit to guard all five positions, which they don’t have to do now with either Young-Malcolm or Appel on the floor closing games.
Los Angeles Sparks
Armintie Herrington to Tulsa for Roneeka Hodges
Now let me be clear, I initially wanted to blow up the starting front-line in an effort to get more minutes for Gruda/Parker together as they played well off each other in Russia this offseason. But in reality, when that’s the only thing that has worked for you this season, why would you give up on it?
Candace Parker is the key cog in all of the issues in L.A., if you ask me. She’s too talented, skill-wise and in her physical makeup, to be such a terrible defender. If I was Penny Toler, I’d stick with the big lineup and play more zone until Parker commits to competing on the defensive end, every night, every possession. This trade allows the Sparks to add perimeter shooting while also getting rid of one of the players that is a non-threat outside of transition.
Herrington brings a lot to this team defensively but she’s likely to want out now anyway as she came to L.A. to play for Carol Ross. The team would probably be better off keeping her and getting rid of Harding but seeing as Hodges is a sniper on the wing and Harding is the only “true point guard” on the roster, it’s hard to justify trading her for someone else who isn’t a “point guard.”
Noelle Quinn to Tulsa for the rights to Liz Cambage
Let’s be frank, Cambage doesn’t want to be in Tulsa. L.A. has been mentioned. So has New York but this is the perfect spot for her. She can play next to LJ, considering she returns next season, the same way they play with the Australian National Team. She also has a good relationship with the newest Aussie in Seattle: Jenna O’Hea. The pressure would be off Cambage to produce and carry a team and she’d finally be out of the instability that is the Tulsa Shock.
Quinn has seemed to be the odd player out in Seattle all year, and before the season I thought so anyway, as Stricklen and O’Hea bring consistency offensively that she doesn’t. Her one skill, as a big ball-handler, isn’t really necessary with Temeka Johnson coming off the bench. Camille Little’s newly added range could allow her to spend a bit more time on the perimeter offensively, but she’d likely end up coming off the bench, which isn’t a bad thing to have if you’re Seattle, considering Coach Nicole Powell is your first “post player” off the bench currently.
Angel Goodrich to L.A. for Farhiya Abdi
This move doesn’t seem to move the needle much in terms of production considering both players aren’t playing much for their current teams. But in reality, it has the potential to be greater than meets the eye. Goodrich played well as the starting point guard for the Shock last season with much less talent than she would have at her disposal in LA. She’s also top-15 in the WNBA in steals per 40 and is fully capable of holding down the fort in spurts for the struggling Sparks.
This move for Tulsa is similar to the move for D.C. It allows them to assess the young talent they have while playing games that have meaning, in terms of wins and losses. Abdi adds size to the wing spot at 6’2 and she’s shown flashes in meaningless minutes in LA. She’s a capable defender and was the leader in Euroleague in fouls drawn per game at 6.1.
So there’s my thoughts and some of the reasoning behind them, what do YOU think? Feel free to comment below or, better yet, we encourage FanPosts! It’s always fun to see what you guys, the best commenters in all of basketball blogs, think as the season continues along!