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Key transactions from the WNBA offseason

The 25th anniversary season of the league will have plenty of familiar names in different locales. We break down the key moves of the offseason.

Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks dribbles during the first half of Game One of their Second Round playoff against the Connecticut Sun at Feld Entertainment Center on September 17, 2020 in Palmetto, Florida.  Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Much like they’re older big brother, the WNBA is quickly becoming a year-round league as well. The Seattle Storm hadn’t even finished celebrating their 2020 championship in the “Wubble” in Palmetto, Florida before talk of the next season began.

But this season the teams return to their home courts, but many rosters won’t look anything like they did at IMG Academy last October. Here’s a breakdown of some of the key transactions that happened during the WNBA offseason.

The February 10th Chaos Trades

Kia Nurse from New York Liberty to Phoenix Mercury
Megan Walker from New York Liberty to Phoenix Mercury
Natasha Howard from Seattle Storm to New York Liberty
Sami Whitcomb from Seattle Storm to New York Liberty
Katie Lou Samuelson from Dallas Wings to Seattle Storm
Sami Whitcomb from Seattle Storm to New York Liberty
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan from Minnesota Lynx to Seattle Storm

There were former UConn players being dealt all over the place here, and five draft picks being swapped all in the same day. This included the No. 1 overall in the 2021 draft going to Dallas from New York via Seattle, who chose Charli Collier of the Texas Longhorns.

The deal saw the Liberty get closer to win now status, as a hopefully-healthy Sabrina Ionescu gets a frontcourt threat in Howard that averaged 9.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last season for the champs. Also Phoenix gets two former UConn’ers to play with the GOAT Diana Taurasi, who enters her 18th year in the league this season.

And can Katie Lou Samuelson finally find her footing in the league? She’s as a pure shooter as has ever lived, but will be on her third team in three years. Will Seattle and fellow Husky Sue Bird getting her the ball be the right fit?

Candace Parker: Free agent to Chicago Sky

A stunner by the future Hall of Famer, as one of the best women’s basketball players of all-time leaves Los Angeles. The two-time MVP finished third in the voting for the award last season, and heads to her hometown team while the reigning Defensive Player of the Year at age 34. She’s averaged 16.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game for her career, but the 15-7 Sparks lost to the Connecticut Sun in the play-in game for the WNBA Playoffs last season.

At least she’s got a sense of humor about long she’s been in LA dominating.

Kayla McBride: Free agent to Minnesota Lynx from Las Vegas Aces

The four-time champs in Minneapolis get a pure bucket in the three-time All-Star, who helped lead Sin City to the Finals last season. She’s a career 14.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game player, but might have to adjust her role with Crystal Dangerfield and Napheesa Collier there in the backcourt already.

Aerial Powers: Free agent to Minnesota Lynx from Washington Mystics

A key piece of the 2019 champion Washington Mystics that averaged 11.4 points per game, the five-year vet played just six games in the Wubble last season before an injured hamstring ended her year. Maybe Andre Iguodala will read her name in the transaction lines.

Liz Cambage: Free agent to Las Vegas Aces

She’s one of the best players in the world, and when she chooses to play in the W she tends to dominate it. The WNBA single-game scoring record holder (53 points vs. the Liberty in 2018) isn’t afraid to talk or to back it up, and Bill Laimbeer gets back piece that might have been the difference for the Finals losers last season. Cambage sat out the Wubble due to health concerns, but there’s a chance she’ll be a contender for MVP this season.

Odyssey Sims: Free agent to Atlanta Dream

The Dream pick up a 12.8 points per game career scorer after she cleared waivers. The 2019 All-Star lost some minutes for the upstart Lynx last season, but will likely get all the burn she wants in the 404.

Jessica Breland: Free agent to Indiana Fever

The Fever get a career 7.3 points and 5.9 rebounds for free after she sat out the Wubble. One of those sneaky moves that could be huge down the road.

Renee Montgomery - Voluntarily Retired

The best way to leave the league? Become an owner and podcaster! The two-time WNBA champ in Minnesota in 2015 & 2017 is now part-owner of the Atlanta Dream, the team with which she finished her 11-year career last season. She finishes with 364 games played, two rings, one All-Star appearance, and a piece of a franchise.