New York is trading 2021 MVP Jonquil Jones in a three-way deal

Written by Doug Fienberg – AP basketball writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Liberty traded for Jonquil Jones, adding a hunk to their championship hopes.

Liberty captured the 2021 MVP award as part of a three-team deal with the Connecticut Sun and Dallas Wings, the teams announced Monday.

Connecticut finished sixth in the draft, along with Rebecca Allen from New York and Tiasha Harris from Dallas. The Wings got Natasha Howard and Crystal Dangerfield from Liberty. Kayla Thornton is also headed to New York.

“Adding Jonquil and Kayla to our roster early in their careers was an unmissable opportunity to strengthen our frontcourt on both ends of the floor,” said Liberty GM Jonathan Kolb. He possesses a rare combination of defensive physique and offensive spacing. We can’t wait to welcome them to the Liberty family and work towards pursuing their Championship goals.”

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Jones has one year left on her contract with The Sun. The 6-foot-6 All-Star averaged 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks last season to help Connecticut reach the WNBA Finals for the second time in four seasons.

Jones said, “To say I’m excited would be a massive understatement!” To the fans, my future teammates, and everyone who welcomed me to New York, thank you! I can’t wait to start this season and show up in the Big Apple!! “

The 29-year-old Jones, who is from the Bahamas, will reinforce a young New York team led by Sabrina Ionescu and Betnya Lani, who have lost in the first round of the playoffs the past two years. She was sixth overall in the 2016 draft and was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2017. The following season she was named Sixth Woman of the Year before being named MVP three years later.

“Jonquel has been an integral part of the Connecticut Sun’s growth over the past seven years, and we truly appreciate everything you’ve brought to this franchise,” said Connecticut General Manager Darius Taylor. “In the end, JJ’s trade was a decision that both parties decided was best.”

Allen played her seven-year career in New York. The 30-year-old Australian debuted in the WNBA in 2015. She was the tallest player on the Liberty List.

“Beck has had a lasting impact on the Liberty organization throughout her seven years here,” said Kolb. “She’s been with this franchise through the ups and downs, moves and turnarounds, yet her professionalism and effort have not wavered. We wish her the very best in her next season with Connecticut as she will undoubtedly thrive in an expanded role.”

Howard played two seasons in New York after Liberty traded to her in 2021. She averaged 15.1 points and 7.3 rebounds last season.

“Natasha is a three-time WNBA champion and joins the Wings organization with an impressive WNBA resume, including extensive and successful playoff experience,” said Wings President and CEO Greg Bibb. “On the field, we add a player of All-Star caliber who is one of the best defenders in the game. Off the field, we add a veteran player who has won on the biggest stage in the biggest moments. You can rarely meet as many needs in one transaction as we can with the addition of Natasha. We are excited to have her on board.” to our organization.

Dangerfield, who was the 2020 Freshman of the Year for Minnesota, will play on her fifth different team. She averaged 5.4 points and 2.5 assists for New York last season, starting 27 of the 30 games she played in.

Thornton averaged 8.0 points and 5.9 rebounds for Dallas last season while starting 35 of 36 games.

Harris averaged 5.2 points for Dallas over her three-year career. Started 11 games since being drafted seventh in 2020.

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