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"I'll Give Ya'..."
Written by Melissa Sterry   
Thursday, 01 April 2010

Today what can arguably be one of the most interesting trades of the 2010 season was announced.  Now follow the bouncing basketball... Pondexter and Mazzante to New York; Christon and Kraayeveld to Chicago; Dupree to Phoenix and Sky’s second round draft pick to New York.  I personally wonder what the conference call was like when they worked THAT deal out.  I am envisioning something from our childhood monopoly games at the kitchen table but can you imagine Carol Blazejowski {NY GM}; Ann Meyers Drysdale {GM Phoenix}; and Steven Key {GM Chicago} arguing over who gets to be the car at a kitchen table with the play money but instead of the deeds they have pictures of player?  Well it is an amusing picture in my head.


So who got the better end on this deal?




Somehow Ann Meyers juggled a reduced salary cap that left Phoenix in the position of being unable to afford all their restricted free agents into a starting line up that has a chance of repeating as champions.  Unfortunately Phoenix let Le’Coe Willingham slip away to Seattle which gives Seattle some beef under the basket to help take some rebounding pressure off Lauren Jackson and it give Le’coe a chance for another championship ring.  Not a big chance but a legit chance.  So that leaves Temeka Johnson, Penny Taylor, Cappie Pondexter and Kelly Mazzante to fit into a salary cap.


But Pondexter helped out in a weird way.  She informed Phoenix she wanted to play in New York so badly that she was willing to sit out a year to get out from under her contract to make that happen.  So Meyers starts working the phones.


Now New York has been flirting with their Cinderella status for a couple of seasons.  They always seem to be able to smack Detroit around but never quite were able to get all the pieces to come together to get into the championship.  With the midseason replacement of Patti Coyle with Anne Donovan it appeared the the LIberty were about to find a yet another new direction in an effort to get back to their early glory days of a filled Madison Square Garden and Championship runs.  But seventeen, yes 17, hours prior to the Cappie Pondexter trade Seton Hall announced that they had secured Donovan as their head coach.  She will coach the Liberty for the 2010 season and then will be in Seton Hall full time.   Some how I think the NCAA will be looking at Seton Hall’s recruiting in this situation.  So while the Liberty are getting a hot shooting hand guard, until a permeant coach the Liberty are going to be spoilers marking time until the latest new system is put in place for 2011.


With Chicago I was wondering who spiked Key’s Kool-Aid until I heard that Dupree handed Chicago the same ultimatum that Pondexter gave Phoenix -- trade me or I sit out.  On the surface it appears unfortunate that Chicago was unable to get more than two middle level journeymen players who are about to push Chicago’s salary cap.  Kraayeveld has 5 years in the league averaging 4.6 rebounds, 1 assist nd 8.9 points per game efficiency rating of +8.59.  Somehow I think there is a rookie out there who can supply those kind of lack luster stats.  Christon is a slightly different matter.  Her EFF is 14.88 and her numbers are moving up.  In the 2009 she averaged 16.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists.  Given that Dupree’s number for Chicago are very similar, 15.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists, I would say that the Chicago's end of the trade is a push between Dupree and Christon; along with Kraayeveld going for a second round draft pick.


So in the end I would say this was a smart trade all around for all three teams and most of the players involved.  Out from salary cap issues {Phoenix}, managing to get something for players who are not happy {Phoenix and Chicago}, and getting a market friendly player for a struggling team {Liberty}.  


Other fun moves that have caught my eye have come out of Atlanta.  Ivory Latta was waved.  Just a few short years ago in 2007, she was the rookie Detroit and Bill Laimbeer took a risk on.  Unfortunately she never reached her potential in the WNBA scoring a total of 627 points, 107 rebounds and 177 assists over 3 seasons.  Yet oddly enough she is appearing on Tulsa’s roster on their web site yet I cannot find a press release about her signing with the Shock.  This maybe a good fight for her as Coach Nolan Richardson is planning on using his “40 Minutes of Hell” program from his University of Arkansas days.


But the really fun stuff to me is the reuniting of Kelly and Coco Miller.  Yes “The Twins” are back together in Georgia.  Together these two led their high school team to winning the Minnesota State Calss 4A championship.   At University of Georgia they helped get their team to the Final Four in 1999, a SEC Championship in 2000 and 2001 SEC Tournament win in 2001.  The both were first round draft picks in 2001 with Kelly being drafted 2nd, behind Lauran Jackson, and Coco being drafted 9th.  While playing in the WNBA, Kelly is a point guard who manages to set up her shooters very effectively.  It was she who managed the Phoenix shooter of Taurasi, Pondexter, and Taylor in their 2007 Championship run.  Coco has a wicked 3 point shot that is rarely talked about in the press along with being a solid consistant substitute who is good for hard play and defense. 


I was stunned to see Katie Smith go to Washington.  However she will bring a badly needed fighting spirit in Washington to help lift some of the burden from Alana Beard’s shoulders.  Arguably the best from the women’s game Smith is on the down side of her career but I think she has 2 or 3 more good seasons in her that can help bring a determination to win no matter how bad the score mentality that Washington just has not been able to ingrain in its teams the past few years.


I am sure there are a few more trades that will happen before the season starts but I doubt that there are any more of this size and level of talent.

Thank You and Good Night
Written by David Siegel   
Friday, 30 April 2010

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