PHOENIX MERCURY

Mercury trade for All-Star Kahleah Copper, send draft picks and players to Sky

Feb 6, 2024, 8:40 AM | Updated: 10:26 am

Kahleah Copper of the Chicago Sky...

Kahleah Copper #2 of the Chicago Sky brings the ball up the court against the Las Vegas Aces in the first quarter of Game One of the 2023 WNBA Playoffs first round at T-Mobile Arena on September 13, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Mercury are trading draft capital and players to the Chicago Sky for three-time All-Star and 2021 WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper as they revamp the perimeter around future Hall of Famer Diana Taurasi, as first reported by The Next’s Howard Megdal. Phoenix is also acquiring Morgan Bertsch’s exclusvie negotiating rights in the trade.

The Mercury are trading away forwards Brianna Turner and Michaela Onyenwere, plus four draft picks, including the No. 3 pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft. The Sky previously traded their first-rounder for this year.

Phoenix is trading its 2024 and 2026 first-round picks, as well as Chicago’s 2025 second-round pick going back to the Sky (the Mercury acquired it in a 2023 four-team trade) and the rights to a 2026 second-round pick swap.

“The opportunity to add a player of Kahleah’s caliber in the prime of her career is rare,” Mercury general manager Nick U’Ren said in a release. “She is one of the most dynamic and athletic players in our league, with a true knack for scoring the ball. She is also a fierce competitor, proven champion and the ultimate two-way player, who can disrupt the game on the defensive end with her length and activity. Morgan is a sharpshooter and savvy defender – we are excited for the energy and scoring punch she can provide off the bench.”

Copper, 29, averaged a career-high 18.7 points per game while shooting 45% overall and 40% from three last season in 38 games.

The Mercury’s first offseason under new owner Mat Ishbia, general manager Nick U’Ren and head coach Nate Tibbetts has begun with an aggressive approach.

The 6-foot-1 Copper joins what on paper is a threatening backcourt after the Mercury tipped off the free-agency period last week by signing former Washington Mystics point guard Natasha Cloud, who averaged 12.7 points, 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game with 1.1 steals last season.

Phoenix this young offseason also acquired forward Rebecca Allen in a sign-and-trade deal with the Connecticut Sun on Saturday, sending Moriah Jefferson in return.

Allen spent last season in Connecticut after the Sun acquired her in a three-team deal with the New York Liberty and Dallas Wings in January 2023.

She played in all 40 games and made 27 starts for the Sun, averaging 6.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.9 steals and a team-leading and career-high 1.3 blocks per game.

Kahleah Copper, Mercury guard Sophie Cunningham have a history

At present, Copper will team with current Mercury guard Sophie Cunningham.

The pair has a history of run-ins on the court and most notably became a meme during the 2021 WNBA Finals, a series Chicago won in four games over Phoenix led by Copper’s MVP performances.

Cunningham and Copper got tangled going for a loose ball in that series. Cunningham after the game said Copper wrapped her arm around her neck.

“Put me on all the t-shirts you want,” Cunningham told reporters. “My hair looked nice.”

Copper did just that after the series.

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