Natasha Cloud leaves Mystics to sign with Mercury
Feb 1, 2024, 9:18 AM | Updated: 2:12 pm
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Long-time Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud signed with the Phoenix Mercury, the team announced Thursday.
SNY and Girls Talk Sports TV reporter Khristina Williams first reported Thursday. The Washington Post‘s Kareem Copeland confirmed the expected signing.
A second-round pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft, she has spent her entire career with the Mystics and at 31 joins a resetting Mercury team that returns future Hall of Famer Diana Taurasi and is expected to re-sign All-Star center Brittney Griner.
“Natasha is an elite playmaker, one of the best defenders in the league and is coming off a career year as a scorer,” Mercury general manager Nick U’Ren in a release. “The tenacity and energy Natasha plays with, on both ends of the court, will help make our team more dynamic, versatile and competitive.”
Phoenix will plug in Cloud at point guard after All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith entered free agency this year. Diggins-Smith did not play for Phoenix this past season after going on maternity leave and then having a disagreement with the team.
Interestingly enough, Diggins-Smith agreed to join the Seattle Storm not long after the reports of Cloud signing with the Mercury.
Cloud averaged 12.7 points, 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game with 1.1 steals last season for the Mystics.
She made WNBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2019 and the first team in 2022 and also led the league at 7.0 assists per game in 2022.
The 5-foot-10 point guard won the 2019 WNBA title with Washington and has 30 games of postseason experience.
“I’m hyped to be coming to the Valley, and be part of building back the Mercury’s dynasty,” Cloud said in a release. “D.C. has been my home for nine years and leaving the fans and city isn’t easy, but I’m excited to be part of an organization that values the person and player that I am. I can’t wait to get to Phoenix and get to work with my teammates.”
Cloud, 31, slots in to lead an offense and act as a perimeter disruptor that expects to return Griner in the post to complement Taurasi’s perimeter game.
Phoenix also owns the No. 3 pick in the WNBA Draft, where the talent pool could potentially include likely No. 1 pick Caitlin Clark, as well as Stanford big Cameron Brink and UConn guard Paige Bueckers.
The Mercury enter 2024 under first-year coach Nate Tibbetts and first-year general manager Nick U’Ren.