The WNBA is buzzing to start 2023.
The Connecticut Sun in particular are making moves under new coach Stephanie White and new general manager Darius Taylor, trading away several stalwarts from their recent WNBA Finals runs.
Just Women’s Sports is tracking key trades before the new season tips off in May.
The 12-year WNBA veteran had played for the Sun since 2015, but now Thomas is headed to the Sparks in exchange for a package of up-and-coming players.
Los Angeles receives Thomas and the No. 10 pick in the 2023 draft, while Connecticut receives Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Jasmine Walker and the contract rights to Kianna Smith.
In Thomas, the Sparks receive a dogged defender who has been selected to the WNBA All-Defensive First Team three times. The 33-year-old point guard missed most of the 2022 season with a torn ACL, but she will rejoin former Connecticut coach Curt Miller in his first season in Los Angeles.
“I have had the pleasure of coaching Jasmine for my entire professional head coaching career and know she will be an incredible addition to this team and the culture we are building in LA,” Miller said in a statement. “Her knowledge of the game and her ability to lead a team both on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor is something that will be invaluable to us.”
The Sun receive several of the Sparks’ recent top-20 draft picks: Walker, the seventh overall pick in 2021; Smith, the 16th pick in 2022; and Nelson-Ododa, the 19th overall pick in 2022. However, Smith is unlikely to play in 2023 after rupturing her patella tendon in December.
They don't know what's coming. 🤫See you on the court, @jaszthomas.⭐2017 WNBA All-Star3️⃣x WNBA All-Defensive First Team2️⃣x WNBA All-Defensive Second Team#LetsGoSparks pic.twitter.com/j8HGGKc9CC— Los Angeles Sparks (@LASparks) January 16, 2023
They don't know what's coming. 🤫See you on the court, @jaszthomas.⭐2017 WNBA All-Star3️⃣x WNBA All-Defensive First Team2️⃣x WNBA All-Defensive Second Team#LetsGoSparks pic.twitter.com/j8HGGKc9CC
The 2021 WNBA MVP requested the trade to the Liberty after meeting with multiple teams during the offseason, per Rachel Galligan of Winsidr and Just Women’s Sports.
Connecticut sent Jones to New York as part of a three-team trade. The Sun received Rebecca Allen and the No. 6 pick in the 2023 draft from the Liberty, as well as Tyasha Harris from the Dallas Wings. The Liberty received Jones from the Sun and Kayla Thornton from the Wings, while the Wings received Natasha Howard and the contract rights to Crystal Dangerfield from the Liberty.
The centerpiece of the trade, Jones was entering the final year of her contract with Connecticut. The 29-year-old forward averaged a team-leading 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in 2022.
Transaction: Connecticut Sun Acquire Rebecca Allen, Tyasha Harris and the No. 6 Pick in a Three-Team Trade with New York and Dallas.Details: https://t.co/mY861JmZrI pic.twitter.com/ph0PQiZZ8a— Connecticut Sun PR (@CTSunPR) January 16, 2023
Transaction: Connecticut Sun Acquire Rebecca Allen, Tyasha Harris and the No. 6 Pick in a Three-Team Trade with New York and Dallas.Details: https://t.co/mY861JmZrI pic.twitter.com/ph0PQiZZ8a