Former WNBA All-Star Jasmine Thomas Traded to LA Sparks; Sun Receive 3 Players

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 16, 2023

UNCASVILLE, CT - MAY 20: Connecticut Sun guard Jasmine Thomas (5) calls a play during a WNBA game between Indiana Fever and Connecticut Sun on May 20, 2022, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. (Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jasmine Thomas is reuniting with head coach Curt Miller on the Los Angeles Sparks.

Khristina Williams of MSG Networks reported the Connecticut Sun traded Thomas and the No. 10 overall pick to the Los Angeles Sparks for Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Jasmine Walker and the rights to reserved free agent Kianna Smith.

Thomas was limited to five appearances in 2022 after suffering a torn ACL. The 2017 All-Star has averaged 9.6 points and 3.7 assists across her 12-year career.

This trade came after the Sun sent 2021 league MVP Jonquel Jones to the New York Liberty in a three-team swap.

Connecticut has made the playoffs for six straight years, a run that includes two WNBA Finals appearances. But the franchise appears to be pivoting in a new direction. Miller, Jones and Thomas were all key figures in that success, and now all three are gone in the space of one offseason.

A rebuild may have been inevitable considering Jones, Thomas and DeWanna Bonner are all free agents in 2024. Starting that process now could allow for the Sun to miss the postseason and fall into the lottery at an advantageous time. Connecticut's Paige Bueckers, Iowa's Caitlin Clark, Maryland's Angel Reese and Stanford's Cameron Brink headline a loaded 2024 WNBA draft class.

On the other side, the Sparks have both Jordin Canada and Kristi Toliver hitting unrestricted free agency. Canada was the team leader in assists (5.5 per game), while Toliver is a three-time All-Star who averaged 15.0 points and 7.9 assists per 100 possessions last year, per Basketball Reference.

Canada, 26, is the younger of the pair and a plus defender. Her inability to space the floor—16.8 percent on three-pointers in her five-year career—however has significantly limited her overall value. Toliver, who turns 36 this month, is nearing the end of her career and clearly no longer the dynamic offensive threat she was in her prime.

Acquiring Thomas allows for Los Angeles to effectively choose one or the other.

Her previous rapport with Miller should allow for her to make a seamless transition to the Sparks as well.