The Mystics’ trade for Elena Delle Donne is now complete. To recap our post Monday, the Mystics acquired her in a sign-and-trade deal from the Chicago Sky in exchange for Stefanie Dolson, Kahleah Copper, and the 2nd overall pick in the 2017 Draft.
Here’s what Mystics GM and Head Coach Mike Thibault said in a statement:
Clearly, this is one of the biggest moves in the history of this organization. In only four years, Elena has established herself as one of the premier players in the world, as evidenced by her MVP season two years ago. Her impact on and off the court will be invaluable. Her pure basketball talents as a scorer, passer, rebounder, and shot-blocker will raise the level of effectiveness of all her teammates, and those talented teammates will take a lot of the day- to-day pressure off of her as well. She joins a core group that is just entering the best years of their careers and is making a commitment to helping the Mystics become one of the elite organizations in the WNBA. Her involvement in the D.C. community will have an impact on a daily basis. This is an exciting time to be a Mystics fan.
Also, here’s what Ted Leonsis said:
Adding a player of Elena’s caliber and character is an exciting moment for us. I’m looking forward to the connection she will build with our city and our fans and to joining them this summer to cheer on the Mystics.
And Delle Donne herself:
I’m really excited about this next chapter in my career with the Mystics. Coach Thibault, Mr. Leonsis and Ms. [Sheila] Johnson have built a strong team that is ready to make a significant impact in the league and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. I'm sad to be leaving Chicago, a place that was a fantastic city for sports and truly felt like home. I’d like to give a huge thank you to the fans there, and to the Sky organization for a great four years.
There is a perception around the WNBA that this trade was one-sided. Thibault also made a point that this trade isn’t necessarily that way because the Sky is getting an infusion of young talent:
It is the difficult part of professional sports that when you make a trade such as this, you are forced to trade away excellent players in order to get it done. Good trades are not designed to be one-sided. They should benefit both teams, and in this case, Chicago is getting two very talented young players. I have thoroughly enjoyed coaching Stef and Kahleah. Stef has been a major part of our team for three years and it was very difficult giving her up and then having to explain it to her. She and I have had a terrific relationship on and off the court. It truly is like losing a part of your family.
Kahleah has the potential to be great and I hope she is every game except against us. Watching her improve throughout last season was fun to see. We wish them both well and great success in the future. They both deserve it.
Sky Head Coach and GM Amber Stocks would concur with Thibault on that. Here’s what she said in the Sky’s statement:
The acquisition of these two players and the second overall pick in the upcoming draft gives us three outstanding pieces that make our line-up stronger, deeper and better. Our focus is to enhance the championship culture and winning mindset with our talented roster of strong players.
So now, it’s for real. The Mystics are now a WNBA team people are dying to see.
Welcome to a new era of Mystics basketball everyone!