Khristina Williams of Girls Talk Sports TV reported the Connecticut Sun have pulled off their second trade in as many days, sending long-time guard Jasmine Thomas and a first round pick to Los Angeles for second-year center Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Jasmine Walker and the rights to Kianna Smith.
Thomas, who is owed $190,000 in 2023, is reunited with Sparks head coach Curt Miller. The two were together in Connecticut from 2016-2022 when Miller was the general manager/head coach for the Sun. Thomas was named to the All-Defensive first team three times along with the All-Defensive second team twice in her time with Miller. She tore her ACL last May and missed the rest of the 2022 season.
“Jasmine Thomas’s presence on and off the court has been both a driving force and a calming presence to her teammates,” Sun general manager Darius Taylor said in a statement. “Her leadership and toughness have gotten the Connecticut Sun franchise to incredible heights over the last 8 years. As we look toward the future, we saw moving her as an opportunity to build, while also remaining as a championship contender for years to come.”
Connecticut sent out the No. 10 pick in the 2023 draft after acquiring the No. 6 pick from the New York Liberty in a three-team deal that landed 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones in the Big Apple. It is likely the team needed to attach draft capital in order to offload the $190,000 salary cap figure Thomas held going into 2023.
The players the Sun received from Los Angeles are all on unprotected contracts, meaning the can all be cut without being counted towards the salary cap until before the start of the season. Nelson-Ododa, who played at UConn, showed she can be a reliable backup center in the WNBA while Jasmine Walker hasn’t found any consistency on both ends of the floor to start her career. Kianna Smith most likely won’t play in 2023 after rupturing her patella tendon last month.