January 13, 2023 

How trading Kristy Wallace for Danielle Robinson gives the Atlanta Dream options

Atlanta could benefit from Robinson's veteran leadership or make additional moves

On Friday afternoon, the Atlanta Dream and Indiana Fever announced one of the first major trades of 2023: second-year Dream guard Kristy Wallace traded for veteran Fever point guard Danielle Robinson.

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The 27-year-old Wallace played her first season last year in the ATL, originally hailing from Australia and playing collegiately at Baylor. She was originally drafted by the Dream in 2018 but did not report to training camp until 2022 due to injury.

During her inaugural WNBA season, Wallace started in 18 of the 29 games she played in and averaged 6.6 points, 2.2 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game. She is playing this offseason for the Melbourne Boomers in Australia’s WNBL.

Robinson has spent 11 seasons in the league. She was drafted by San Antonio in 2011 and played her first six years there. In 2020, she was picked up by Las Vegas, which was led by now-Dream general manager Dan Padover.

Robinson is a three-time WNBA All-Star and three-time WNBA All-Defensive Team member, and she ranks 13th in league history in career assists. Last season, Robinson averaged 7.4 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game with the Fever.

“Danielle’s skillset, competitiveness, and basketball IQ will prove her to be a great addition to our team,” Padover said in the team’s press release. “Danielle is the exact type of professional we want to bring into this organization, [and] her leadership and experience will be a huge asset for our young talent as they continue to grow into the future of the Dream.”

Atlanta is an increasingly young team, from its core of 2022 WNBA Rookie of the Year Rhyne Howard and forward Naz Hillmon to its second-year head coach Tanisha Wright. Last season, the team’s veteran glue was center Kia Vaughn, who subsequently retired, so Robinson provides needed veteran leadership, particularly depending on All-Star guard Tiffany Hayesoffseason decisions.

In addition to her experience and intangibles, Robinson provides another option at the point guard position. Last season, the team relied on a mix of veteran Erica Wheeler and 24-year-old Aari McDonald at that position. Wheeler is currently a free agent, so her return is up in the air, and McDonald is still growing into her role. Robinson brings more experience but also could cut into McDonald’s minutes.

Although this was a one-for-one trade, there are significant discrepancies in Robinson and Wallace’s contracts, which has implications for both teams. Robinson is currently on a $155,000 contract, whereas Wallace’s is for $64,657. For the Dream, they could retain Robinson, or this could be just a step in another trade for a similarly large contract and similar position. This move also opens up cap space for the Fever, potentially creating opportunities for a large free-agency signing.

Written by Gabriella Lewis

Gabriella is The Next's Atlanta Dream and SEC beat reporter. She is a Bay Area native currently studying at Emory University.

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