Moving to the Music: A Guide to Offseason Player Movement
The 2004-05 WNBA offseason was the busiest in league history. Like a game of musical chairs, a number of players did not end up where they started. From franchise lifers finding new homes, to blockbuster trades, to a new crop of international stars, this winter had it all. WNBA.com does not dance around the subject at all, but provides a step-by-step recap of the biggest moves and how they're expected to play out this season. Let's start the music up once again…
1. "I Feel
Good," James Brown
-Chamique Holdsclaw traded to the Los Angeles Sparks for DeLisha Milton-Jones (March 21)
One of the biggest trades in league history, the Mystics sent Holdsclaw to the West Coast in exchange for Milton-Jones, an All-Star and Olympian in her own right. However, the impact of this trade is contingent on both players returning to full strength. Both seems to be "feelin' good," though Holdsclaw missed the second half of last season battling depression while Milton-Jones was forced to miss most of the season and the Olympics with a torn ACL. When healthy, these are two of the premiere frontcourt players in the world and should shake things up in each conference.
has a WNBA-best 655 blocks in her career.|
D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images
-Center Margo Dydek traded to the Connecticut Sun (April 16)
An All-Star in 2003 with the San Antonio Silver Stars, Dydek, who holds just about every blocked shot record in WNBA history, struggled to get into a rhythm early last season under Coach Dee Brown. Her numbers dropped as did her playing time in the rotation. By the beginning of the offseason, Dydek was very much on the trading bloc, but did not change locations until a Draft Day trade brought her East. She gives the defending conference champs a big presence in the middle. Look out for the Sun once again...
3. "Hit the Road, Jack," Ray Charles
-Tangela Smith traded to the Charlotte Sting for Nicole Powell and Olympia Scott-Richardson (March 3)
The Charlotte Sting missed the 2004 postseason for one reason: their inability to score. Okay, so maybe that's the combination of many reasons, but the Sting went out and traded the third overall pick in the 2004 Draft, guard/forward Nicole Powell, to the Monarchs for another of the top power forwards in the WNBA. In her seven seasons in Sacramento before hitting the road, Smith averaged 13.1 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game.
4. "Hot in Herre," Nelly
-Free agent center Kamila Vodichkova signs with the Phoenix Mercury (February 24)
Straight off of winning a championship, Kamila Vodichkova goes from the rain of Seattle to the desert heat of Phoenix. As the starting center for the Storm since the team's inception, Vodichkova has experience and knows how to win. Most importantly, she gives the Mercury what they needed most last season: size. They already have the backcourt firmly entrenched, but the signing of Vodichkova fills the void left by the departure of 2003 All-Star center Adrian Williams, who was traded to San Antonio last season.
Old faces in new places
New faces in new places
Player Movement | Transactions
-Janeth Arcain returns to the Houston Comets (March 4)
Unlike the Mercury, the Comets had the frontcourt, but lacked the stability in their backcourt in 2004. That is why the league's first dynasty missed the postseason for the first time in eight seasons. But while the Comets tried everything in the backcourt, mixing and matching a number of potential options, they could not compensate for the absence of Janeth Arcain. Arcain opted not to join the team last season, choosing instead to train for the Olympics in her native Brazil. Arcain should be the steadying force for the team this season, but will be relied on for more of the scoring early on while Tina Thompson is out on maternity leave.
6. "Carolina on my Mind," James Taylor
-Charlotte Sting sign free agent Sheri Sam (February 14)
The first of the Seattle Storm departures this offseason, forward Sheri Sam heads to Charlotte where she will likely start in Trudi Lacey's re-vamped lineup. 2004 was the first season in which she failed to score in double figures (9.1 ppg), but she can shoot the 3-pointer and passes the ball well. While Sam is a true wanderer in WNBA terms, (the Sting will be her fifth team in just seven seasons), she has the ability to go somewhere and fit in. After all, she was a starter on the champion Storm team in her only season there.
gets to stay in Texas.|
Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images
-Forward Adrienne Goodson signs with the Comets (April 19)
With Thompson out for the immediate future, forward Goodson was signed with the purpose of filling the void. Of course, Goodie will likely not match Thompson's offensive numbers, but she is a scorer (more than 2,500 points in her WNBA career) and should fill in amply in the frontcourt for Van Chancellor.
8. "Encore," Jay Z
-Kristi Harrower returns to the Minnesota Lynx (April 11)
The starting point guard for the Australian national team, Kristi Harrower returns to Minnesota after taking off the 2004 season to train with her national team. Harrower has never been a consistent starting point guard in the WNBA, something the Lynx could desperately use, but her pure passing skills will help her teammates, specifically Katie Smith, Nicole Ohlde and Tamika Williams, score even more this season.
9. Land Down Under, Men at Work
-Seattle signs Australian center Suzy Batkovic (March 15)
In what could be Seattle's "make-or-break" move of the offseason, the Storm finally signed their second round pick from the 2003 WNBA Draft, Suzy Batkovic. Batkovic is the starting center on the Australian national team and knows her fellow frontcourt "mate" well. She was the 2001 Australian International Player of the Year, has considerable EuroLeague and NWBL (Aus) experience and at 6-4, will replace Vodichkova in the middle.
The Fever, Bruce Springsteen
-Point guard Tully Bevilaqua signs with Indiana (February 23)
After spending several seasons backing up Sue Bird in Seattle, Tully Bevilaqua, a serviceable, reliable floor leader who can also hit big shots (see: Game Three of the 2004 Finals) joins the Indiana Fever. She has not been a starter since her time with the Portland Fire in 2002, but whether she starts or not, she brings much needed depth to the Fever's backcourt.
Other Notable Personnel Changes:
"Sail Away," Enya
The list of players who sailed into the sunset this WNBA offseason: Indiana's Stephanie White, Washington's Stacey Dales-Schuman, Connecticut's Debbie Black and San Antonio's Semeka Randall.
"Boys of Summer," Don Henley
Three new coaches find themselves on WNBA sidelines, two of whom have previous coaching experience: San Antonio's Dan Hughes, Los Angeles' Henry Bibby and Washington's Richie Adubato.