January 15, 2023 

Jonquel Jones headed to New York in blockbuster three-team trade

Jones is the third former WNBA MVP to be traded in the last 10 years

For the second time in a decade, a former WNBA MVP is heading down I-95 from Connecticut to New York.

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2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones is being traded from the Connecticut Sun to the New York Liberty in a three-team blockbuster that also involves the Dallas Wings, sources confirmed to The Next’s Howard Megdal on Sunday afternoon.

The trade will send Jones from Connecticut to New York, forward Natasha Howard and guard Crystal Dangerfield from New York to Dallas, guard Rebecca Allen and the No. 6 pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft from New York to Connecticut, and guard Tyasha Harris from Dallas to Connecticut.

Graphic courtesy of The Next‘s Domenic Allegra

Rachel Galligan of Winsidr was the first to report that a trade of Jones to New York was close, and ESPN’s Alexa Philippou reported that Jones specifically requested to be traded to New York.

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It’s the third time in the last 10 years that a former WNBA MVP has been traded. Jones’ trade will remind folks most directly of the Sun’s trade of 2012 MVP Tina Charles to the Liberty in 2014. Additionally, 2015 MVP Elena Delle Donne was traded from the Chicago Sky to the Washington Mystics in 2017.

The move is a further dismantling of a Sun team that was in the 2022 WNBA Finals only four months ago. But after losing to the Aces in four games, Sun head coach and general manager Curt Miller left to become head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks after seven years in Connecticut and twice being named WNBA Coach of the Year.

The Sun hired Stephanie White as their head coach in November to replace Miller and added Darius Taylor as the general manager. But even with the new structure in place, the possibility of the former MVP still being traded was evident in Sun president Jennifer Rizzotti’s statement at the press conference introducing White.

For Jones, who has made it clear how much she values the chance to be marketed as an international superstar, the trade brings her to the biggest media market in the world.

She’ll join a Liberty team that already has Sabrina Ionescu and is potentially looking to add Breanna Stewart this offseason, all to play under veteran head coach Sandy Brondello — who is no stranger to managing superstars herself.

Connecticut is actually adding more salary in Allen and Harris than it is trading away in Jones, but it adds two guards to a team in desperate need of more depth in the backcourt. More importantly, it also clears the core designation spot that Jones was slated to be using in 2023, which ESPN’s Philippou reports will now be used on center Brionna Jones, who was set to be a top unrestricted free agent.

For Dallas — which also will be playing under a new head coach, Latricia Trammell — adding Howard, who has two years remaining at near supermaximum contract levels, and Dangerfield, a reserved free agent, is as clear a sign as any that it is intending to build a team to try and win in 2023.

Howard will join Arike Ogunbowale as players making over $200,000, with Ogunbowale’s three-year supermaximum extension beginning in 2023.

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Howard Megdal and Alex Simon contributed to this report.

Written by Aya Abdeen

Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next since December 2022. She is also a sports reporter for the Sun Devils’ women’s basketball team for The State Press. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.

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