Liberty finalizes three-team deal with Connecticut Sun and Dallas Wings
Dallas adds Natasha Howard and Crystal Dangerfield
Connecticut welcomes Liberty No. 6 Rebecca Allen and Tyasha Harris
NEW YORK – JANUARY 16, 2023 – The New York Liberty announced today that the team has acquired 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones from the Connecticut Sun and veteran forward Kayla Thornton from the Dallas Wings in a three-team trade.
As part of the multi-team deal, Dallas acquired forward Natasha Howard and retained the rights to guard New York’s Crystal Dangerfield, while Connecticut acquired guard Rebecca Allen, the Liberty’s No. 6 draft pick in 2023, and received by Dallas guard Tyasha Harris.
“Adding Jonquel and Kayla to our roster in the prime of their careers was an unmissable opportunity to strengthen our frontcourt at both ends of the court,” said Jonathan Kolb, Liberty’s general manager. “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 (29), a 6-6 forward, comes to Liberty after a six-year season with the Connecticut Sun, where she rose to become one of the league’s top players after being drafted No. 6 overall by George Washington in 2016.
Highlighted by her 2021 WNBA MVP award, Jones accumulated several prestigious honors including four WNBA All-Star appearances (2017, 2019, 2021-2022), three All-WNBA Second Team honors (2017, 2019, 2022), three WNBA Peak Performer rebounding titles (2017, 2019, 2021), two All-Defensive First Team nominations (2019, 2021), 2017 Most Improved Player Award, and 2018 Sixth Woman of the Year.
A native of Freeport, Bahamas, Jonquel averaged 13.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.4 blocks per game over her six seasons while shooting 51.1% from the floor and 37.7% overall. transformed by three shots. In a total of 196 regular-season competitions, including 149 starts, JJ took the Sun to a combined record of 126-70 (.643).
Thornton (30), a 6-1 forward and seven-year veteran, is joining Liberty after six years with the Dallas Wings. A Texas-El Paso graduate, Kayla has appeared in 194 regular season games, including 132 starts, in which she compiled career averages of 7.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game while averaging a field goal total percentage shot up from 41.2%.
Kolb continued, “We cannot thank Bec, Tash and Crystal enough for their contributions to the Liberty organization during their respective careers in New York — both on and off the court.”
Allen joined Liberty in 2015 and spent seven seasons in New York for a total of 158 games, 40 of which were starts. During her tenure, Bec averaged 5.7 points and 2.5 rebounds while shooting 38.4% from the field, 36.9% from long range, and 82.9% from the free throw line. Her 110 career blocks ranks seventh all-time in franchise history, while her 145 threes ranked tenth. Additionally, the Melbourne native of Australia became the second Liberty player to dwarf career marks of 100+ steals, 100+ blocks and 100+ three-point field goals, and the fastest player to do so in 150 games .
“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, a nine-year WNBA veteran, three-time WNBA champion, two-time All-Star, and 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, led New York to back-to-back playoff finishes in her two seasons with the Liberty. Natasha became a WNBA All-Star in 2022 and averaged 15.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in 48 contests, all of which were starts.
“Tash has played a tremendous role in repositioning this franchise as a playoff contender,” Kolb said. “It was really special to see a three-time WNBA champion take a chance on us and take on the challenge of nurturing a young core the way she did.”
Dangerfield joined the Liberty backcourt last season, initially under hardship contracts, and later signed on July 3 for the remainder of the season. With New York, the 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year averaged 27 starts in 30 appearances, averaging a career-high 5.5 points, 2.6 assists and two rebounds per contest.
“Crystal is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen and should be in this league for a very long time,” Kolb said. “She immediately stabilized our offense, provided pace and efficiency, and became a clear difference in our playoff pursuit last season.”
Kolb added, “We wish Tash and Crystal continued success as they join the Dallas Wings organization.”
Details of the Liberty launch press conference for Jonquel Jones and Kayla Thornton will be announced shortly. Season tickets and group packages for the 2023 Liberty season are available now at nyliberty.com.