The New York Liberty traded for Jonquel Jones, adding a huge chunk to their championship hopes.
The Liberty acquired the 2021 MVP in a three-team deal with the Connecticut Sun and Dallas Wings, the teams announced Monday.
Connecticut received the #6 draft pick, along with New York’s Rebecca Allen and Dallas’ Tyasha Harris. The Wings got Natasha Howard and Crystal Dangerfield from the Liberty. Kayla Thornton is also traveling to New York.
“The addition of Jonquel and Kayla to our roster in their prime was an unmissable opportunity to strengthen our frontcourt at both ends of the court,” said Liberty GM Jonathan Kolb. “JJ brings established MVP skills and Kayla possesses a rare combination of defensive physicality and offensive distance. We can’t wait to welcome them to the Liberty family and work to achieve our championship goals.”
Jones had one year left on his contract with the Sun. The 6-foot-6 All-Star averaged 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks last season to help Connecticut reach the WNBA Finals for the second time in four seasons.
“To say I’m excited would be a huge understatement!” Jones said. “Thank you to the fans, future teammates and everyone who welcomed me to New York! Can’t wait to get this season going and performing in the Big Apple!!”
The 29-year-old Jones, who hails from the Bahamas, would join a young New York squad led by Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney, who have lost in the opening round of the playoffs for the past two years. She was the No. 6 draft pick in 2016 and was the league’s most-improved player in 2017. She received sixth woman of the year honors the next season before earning MVP three years later.
“Jonquel has been an integral part of Connecticut Sun’s growth over the past seven years, and we truly appreciate everything she has brought to this franchise,” said Connecticut GM Darius Taylor. “Ultimately, JJ’s deal was a decision both parties felt was best.”
Allen had played her entire seven-year career in New York. The 30-year-old Australian made her WNBA debut in 2015. She was the longest-serving player on the Liberty squad.
“Bec made a lasting impact on the Liberty organization during her seven years here,” Kolb said. “She’s had ups and downs, moves and transitions with this franchise, but her professionalism and dedication have never wavered. We wish her the very best in her next chapter in Connecticut, where she will no doubt thrive in an expanded role.”
Howard played two seasons in New York after the 2021 Liberty was traded for her. She averaged 15.1 points and 7.3 rebounds last season.
“Natasha is a three-time WNBA champion who joins the Wings organization with an impressive WNBA resume, including extensive and successful playoff experience,” said Greg Bibb, Wings President and CEO. “On the pitch, we’re adding an all-star player who’s one of the best defenders in the game. Off the court, we’re adding a veteran who won in the biggest moments on the biggest stage. Rarely can you meet as many requirements in one transaction as we can with the addition of Natasha. We are delighted that she is joining our organization.”
Dangerfield, who was 2020 Minnesota Rookie of the Year, will play on her fifth other team. She averaged 5.4 points and 2.5 assists for New York last season and started 27 of the 30 games she played in.
Thornton averaged 8.0 points and 5.9 rebounds for Dallas last season while starting in 35 of 36 games.
Harris has averaged 5.2 points for Dallas during her three-year career. She started 11 games since being drafted seventh in 2020.
AP Women’s Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
This story was originally published Jan 15, 2023 6:23 p.m.