By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Liberty traded All-Star Tina Charles to the Washington Mystics on Wednesday as part of a three-team deal.
New York received the 12th pick in the WNBA draft from Washington as well as the ninth and 15th picks from Dallas. The Liberty also received Tayler Hill from the Wings and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough from the Mystics. Dallas got Washington’s first-round pick in 2021 and New York’s second-round pick in 2021.
“Tina Charles is a name that will forever be synonymous with New York basketball,” Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb. “Over the past six seasons, Tina has cemented herself not only in the Liberty record books, but in the hearts of New Yorkers everywhere due to her tireless and selfless work in the community. On behalf of the New York Liberty organization I thank Tina and wish her well in Washington.”
The Liberty also received the Mystics’ second- and third-round picks next season.
On a pre-draft WNBA conference call Monday, new Liberty coach Walt Hopkins said that “right now Tina is with the Liberty. … We’ll keep our options open and find a way to maximize this group.”
The Liberty now have four of the top 15 picks in Friday’s draft, including the No. 1 pick, which they are expected to use on Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu.
The trade reunites Charles with her former coach Mike Thibault. The pair were together with the Connecticut Sun for Charles’ first four years in the league after the team drafted her No. 1 in 2010. She was traded to New York in 2014 on draft night and had been the cornerstone of the Liberty franchise ever since.
“We are extremely excited to bring Tina Charles to the Washington Mystics. It gives us a dynamic new weapon at both ends of the floor,” Thibault said. “Having coached Tina before in Connecticut, I know what a huge impact she can have on the game every single night.”
The New York native, who has averaged 18.1 points in her career, is still looking for her first WNBA championship. The Liberty signed the 31-year-old Charles to a one-year deal for $175,000 before trading her to Washington so that the Mystics would still fit under the salary cap.
Washington is coming off the franchise’s first WNBA championship. Most of the key pieces are back for Thibault, including reigning league MVP Elena Delle Donne and finals MVP Emma Meesseman.
The Wings, who had five of the first 15 picks in the draft before the trade, had a potential roster crunch. A team can have a maximum of 15 players on its roster and Dallas would have been over that number on draft night.
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