The New York Liberty get back several picks and two players in a trade that involves Tina Charles and the Dallas Wings.
One of New York basketball’s staples won’t be making the trip to Barclays Center this year.
According to reports from Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press and Howard Megdal of High Post Hoops, New York Liberty legend Tina Charles is headed to the Washington Mystics in a three-team deal. The reported trade involves a great shift of draft picks and also involves the Dallas Wings.
Feinberg notes that the Liberty earn back two more first-round picks for Friday’s WNBA Draft (7 p.m. ET, ESPN). Already owners of the top overall pick, the Liberty are set to obtain the ninth and 12th picks from Dallas and Washington respectively.
Dallas’ second-round pick on Friday (15th overall) will also go to New York, while the Wings will obtain the Mystics’ first-round pick in 2021 and the Liberty’s second-rounder from the same year. New York will also receive active players Shatori Walker-Kimbrough from the Mystics and Tayler Hill from the Wings.
The Liberty confirmed the trade in a team statement.
“Tina Charles is a name that will forever be synonymous with New York basketball,” Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb said. “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.”
Charles, a Queens native and Christ the King High School alumna, joined the Liberty in 2014 via a trade with the Connecticut Sun. She will depart New York as the leading scorer in franchise history, having earned the title last season. Charles also reached four WNBA All-Star Games under the Liberty banner. From 2015 through 2017, Charles reached the All-WNBA First Team and helped guide the Liberty to a 66-36 mark, the best in the WNBA’s Eastern Conference.
Playoff success eluded Charles, 31, in her New York endeavors. The team reached the conference finals in 2015 but fell in their first matchup during the next two postseasons. In the midst of ownership upheaval, the Liberty went 17-51 over the last two seasons and saw their games shifted from Madison Square Garden to Westchester County Center. The team is set to move into Barclays Center full-time when the 2020 season gets underway.
Rumors about a Charles deal had repeatedly surfaced during an eventful WNBA offseason. In a pre-draft conference call on Monday, first-year Liberty head coach Walt Hopkins said that “right now Tina is with the Liberty” but that “we’ll keep our options open and find a way to maximize this group”.
A trade to Washington reunites Charles with fellow former WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne and head coach Mike Thibault. Charles and Delle Donne have previously worked together in American Olympic exploits while Thibault supervised the first years of her WNBA career in Connecticut. The Mystics earned their first WNBA title last fall, topping the Sun in five games.
The Liberty are set to own four of the first 15 picks in Friday’s virtual draft proceedings. Many expect them to use the top overall pick on Sabrina Ionescu. The Oregon guard’s teammates Satou Sabally and Ruthy Hebard could likewise be available on Friday.
Walker-Kimbrough joins the Liberty after three years with Washington. She set new career-highs in nearly all major categories last season including points (6.7 PPG) and minutes (17.1 MPG). The Maryland alumna was taken with the sixth overall pick in the 2017 draft and later made that season’s All-Rookie team.
Hill missed a majority of the 2019 season with a knee injury that limited her to four games. She has averaged 8.9 points and 1.7 assists in a career that began with the Mystics in 2013.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags