Skylar Diggins-Smith traded by Wings to Mercury for 3 picks
Just more than 24 hours after pulling off a haul of three first-round picks in a sign-and-trade sending DeWanna Bonner out of town, the Phoenix Mercury finalized another blockbuster.
This time, they acquired All-Star point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith via a trade with the Dallas Wings.
Phoenix is sending the Nos. 5 and 7 picks from the 2020 WNBA Draft to Dallas, as well as the Mercury’s 2021 pick. The Mercury acquired the No. 7 selection Tuesday from the Connecticut Sun in the Bonner deal.
“I’m so excited to have Skylar joining our franchise in pursuit of another championship,” Mercury star Diana Taurasi said in a 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.”
Diggins-Smith did not play in 2019 but has been an All-Star in four of her six pro seasons. The 29-year-old averaged 17.9 points, 6.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game in 2018 with Dallas.
Diggins-Smith has been the face of the Wings franchise since she was drafted third in 2013 when the team was still in Tulsa. She’s averaged 15.9 points and 4.9 assists in her career. She won the league’s most improved player award in 2014 and guided the Wings to the playoffs in 2017 and 2018.
“Players with Skylar’s skillset and ceiling don’t become available in free agency often,” Mercury general manager Jim Pitman told the AP. “She was our top target this offseason and we think teaming her with Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner will give us the league’s most dynamic offensive trio.”
Diggins-Smith told The Associated Press last month that she didn’t want to play in Dallas anymore. The team gave her the franchise designation, meaning she couldn’t leave as a free agent.
She sat out last season after giving birth to a son in the spring. The Mercury had four players with children last season.
For the Mercury, Diggins-Smith slides in as a dynamic playmaker for a team that features the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer, Taurasi, and center Brittney Griner.
The Mercury placed a core player tag on Griner this offseason, giving them exclusive negotiating rights with the expectation they will retain her. The team previously had placed the tag four times on Bonner, who opted to leave Phoenix in a sign-and-trade because it gave her a bigger max contract than would have been available if she’d outright joined the Connecticut Sun.
Behind Griner’s 20.7 points per game, Bonner was the second-leading scorer for Phoenix last season and fifth in the league. She appeared in 335 games with Phoenix over 10 seasons, compiling 4,820 points, 2,072 rebounds and 705 assists.
Phoenix got two first-round picks, the seventh and 10th overall selections in the 2020 WNBA Draft, in the Bonner sign-and-trade to Connecticut. The Sun also dealt a 2021 first-rounder to the Mercury in the package for Bonner, setting up Phoenix to make the move for Diggins-Smith.
High Post Hoops’ Howard Megdal reported Tuesday that the Mercury were also in talks to make a trade with the New York Liberty for Tina Charles.
In other moves, the Mercury signed free agent Bria Hartley on Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.