Skylar Diggins-Smith Traded to Mercury; Joins Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2020

Dallas Wings' Skylar Diggins-Smith during a preseason WNBA basketball game, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Jessica Hill/Associated Press

The Phoenix Mercury announced Wednesday they have acquired Dallas Wings star Skylar Diggins-Smith.

The Wings will receive the Nos. 5 and 7 overall picks in the 2020 WNBA draft and a future first-rounder. Winsidr's Rachel Galligan first reported on the move. 

"I'm so excited to have Skylar joining our franchise in pursuit of another championship," Diana Taurasi said of the move in the Mercury's press release. "She has had an amazing career at all levels—college, the WNBA, and Team USA—and I know she'll continue to grow here in the Valley as one of the best players in the world."

The Wings used the core designation on Diggins-Smith to open the WNBA offseason, which allowed the team to have exclusive negotiating rights with the unrestricted free agent.

However, Diggins-Smith told the Associated Press' Doug Feinberg in January she no longer wanted to play for the Wings and wasn't planning to return to the team.

Diggins-Smith averaged 17.9 points and 6.2 assists in 2018. She only shot 29.7 percent from beyond the arc, which might have been partially down to the adjustments Dallas had to make for a returning Liz Cambage.

The 29-year-old was absent for 2019 following her pregnancy. She expressed her frustration last fall with what she felt was a lack of support from the Wings after she gave birth.

Diggins-Smith's 15.9 points per game over her career are tied for 16th-most in league history. The 29-year-old is a dynamic playmaker and scorer, making her a perfect fit for a franchise in win-now mode.

The Mercury completed a sign-and-trade that sent DeWanna Bonner to the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday. Phoenix received the Nos. 7 and 10 selections in the draft and Connecticut's first-rounder in 2021.

It seems as though the Mercury might use one or more of those picks to land a proven star. Taurasi turns 38 in June, and Brittney Griner was noncommittal about her future in the WNBA last year. The team isn't in a position where it should start building through the draft.

Although Diggins-Smith isn't a clear replacement for Bonner, she could help Phoenix mount a title challenge in the upcoming campaign.

The Los Angeles Sparks already strengthened by signing Kristi Toliver. The Sun not only added Bonner but also retained Jonquel Jones. The reigning Washington Mystics are still reeling from Toliver's departure but re-signed Elena Delle Donne. The Seattle Storm are also getting Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart back after they missed all of last year because of injury.

By adding the four-time All-Star, the Mercury would be keeping pace with their fellow contenders across the league.

The Wings, on the other hand, are looking toward the future. Dallas has the No. 2 overall pick in April and through this trade can continue adding to a young core that includes Arike Ogunbowale, Moriah Jefferson and Azura Stevens.

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