February 11, 2023
Diamond DeShields, Marina Mabrey among players on the move in four-team trade
Former WNBA Rookie of the Year Michaela Onyenwere, draft picks also change hands
The Phoenix Mercury traded 2021 WNBA champion Diamond DeShields to the Dallas Wings in a four-team deal that also includes the New York Liberty and Chicago Sky, the teams announced on Saturday.
Along with DeShields, Dallas acquired draft picks from Chicago, including the No. 5 overall selection in 2023, a first-round pick in 2024, and the right to swap 2025 first-round picks. The Sky received guard Marina Mabrey from Dallas via a sign-and-trade and a 2024 second-round pick from Phoenix.
Phoenix received forward Michaela Onyenwere from New York and Chicago’s 2024 third-round and 2025 second-round picks. The Liberty received the rights to German forward Leonie Fiebich, a 2024 second-round pick from Chicago, and the right to swap 2025 first-round picks with Phoenix.
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DeShields, the third overall pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft, played with Chicago for four seasons and joined Phoenix in 2022 in a five-team trade that also, coincidentally, involved Chicago and Dallas. The 6’1 guard averaged 13.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game for the Mercury last season. According to ESPN’s Andrea Carter, DeShields was informed that she was being traded on Thursday.
“Diamond DeShields has established herself as one of the premier wing players in the WNBA,” Wings president and CEO Greg Bibb said in the team’s announcement. “Her size, athleticism, ability to get to the rim and defensive acumen will make us a better basketball team. She also brings a wealth of playoff experience and a WNBA Championship with her to Dallas that will ultimately aid us in our continued pursuit of a championship of our own.”
“We want to thank Diamond for her contributions during a 2022 season that was tumultuous for all of us,” Mercury general manager Jim Pitman said in a press release. “Ultimately, this deal provided the opportunity to acquire a former Rookie of the Year and add additional cap space to help us build our roster. Michaela is a player who can be dynamic at both ends of the floor and has already shown her potential in this league. She will be a great, versatile addition to our roster.”
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Mabrey, who has been with Dallas for the last three seasons after being drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2019, started 32 out of 34 games in 2022. She averaged 13.6 points and 3.7 assists per game, both career bests.
“We cannot wait to welcome Marina into the Chicago Sky family,” Sky general manager and head coach James Wade said in a press release. “Adding a player such as Marina who can play both guard positions, is a talented sharpshooter and gives her all every single game will all be vital for our team this year. We are looking forward to having her as a big addition to our roster.”
Drafted in 2021 as the sixth overall pick with the Liberty, Onyenwere started 29 games that year and won WNBA Rookie of the Year. Last season, she averaged 4.7 points in 13.7 minutes per game.
The 23-year-old Fiebich was selected in the second round of the 2020 WNBA Draft by the Sparks. She was traded in May 2021 to the Sky and has yet to appear in a WNBA game.
I think the headline here is just how much James Wade wanted Marina Mabrey to help fill the void left by ‘Sloot leaving and Quigley taking the year off. He gave the Wings two 1st round draft picks, in 2023 and the 2024 draft, which is supposed to be a very talent-laden one. Wade, as his wont, treasures experience over youth and he’s putting his draft capital where his beliefs are.
Phoenix was exceedingly blunt for the main reason they made the deal: cap space. Onyenware is a younger, less expensive version of a wing.
And Dallas, as Greg Bibb loves to do, stockpiles more draft picks. Will he, as is his wont, draft a player just like DeShields (Miller, Jackson) or round out his roster? Personally, I think he shipped out the wrong people: Allisha Gray, Mabey and Thornton drove that team when Arike O. went down and got them into the playoffs. Now, they’re all gone and Valerie Burton will have to decide whom to pass the ball to: Arike? Diamond? Or Big T? Good luck.
Wade is obviously banking on Meesemann coming back and the Sky having a good year so the ’24 draft pick isn’t too good for the Wings. He’s got a talent in Mabrey, who should blossom even more not having to time share with Arike and/or Gray. Plus her older sis’ Michaela can come visit her from nearby South Bend?