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Free Agent Summary
Musical Chairs: Moving to the Music
The 2003-04 WNBA offseason was one of the busiest in league history. From franchise lifers finding new homes, to blockbuster trades, to a new crop of rookies and international stars, this winter had it all. Like a game of musical chairs, many players will not end up where they started, and some could even be left without a place to sit thanks to the newcomers and the disbanding of the Cleveland Rockers. Instead of dancing around the issue, WNBA.com recaps some of the biggest moves and how they are expected to play out this season. Let’s start the music...
L.A. WomanThe Los Angeles Sparks were just a few bounces away from winning their third consecutive WNBA title last season. They look to open some new Doors in 2004 thanks to the signing of veteran free agents and former New York players Teresa Weatherspoon and Tamika Whitmore.
Also, Nikki McCray joined a young, but vastly improved Phoenix Mercury roster. The former All-Star and Olympian will be a great influence on some of the younger players like Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor.
Merlakia Jones was not eligible for selection in the Dispersal Draft and signed with the Detroit Schock as a free agent.
The Charlotte Sting added depth to the roster by signing Olympia Scott-Richardson and Sophia Witherspoon as free agents.
The Stars at night…Are big and bright… Deep in the heart of Texas! All-Star point guard Shannon “Pee Wee” Johnson (right) was traded from the Connecticut Sun to the San Antonio Silver Stars and will bring excitement to the Alamo Dome. Silver Stars fans just hope this Pee Wee doesn’t find the basement in San Antonio.
San Antonio also signed Vanessa Nygaard and Jessie Hicks as free agents.
Across the state of Texas, the Comets signed Gordana Grubin and Kedra Holland-Corn.
Born to RunAs the music keeps playing, more players found new places to park their games in 2004 as a result of offseason trades pulled off by various team Bosses.
The Indiana Fever acquired a point guard, Kelly Miller (right), from Charlotte to lead the rush and shoot the deep ball.
Point guard Tamicha Jackson brings her speed and up-tempo game to the nation’s capitol and the Washington Mystics.
Forward Asjha Jones returns to her college home state of Connecticut with the Sun.
Living in AmericaInternational stars such as Lauren Jackson, Mwabi Mabika, Margo Dydek and Penny Taylor have proven that the global players can have great success in the WNBA. Several other new faces will be entering the WNBA this season.
In signing Agnieska Bibrzycka, a 6-2 forward from Poland, the San Antonio Silver Stars added the women’s European Player of the Year for 2003-04. Bibrzycka and Dydek (right) helped lead Lotos VBW Clima Gdynia to the Euroleague championship game.
The Los Angeles Sparks signed Italian star Laura Macchi, a sharpshooter with the ability to play both guard and forward in Coach Michael Cooper’s deep lineup.
Several international players may choose to stay overseas and train with their national teams in preparation for this summer’s Olympics. Among the question marks are Minnesota's Svetlana Abrosimova, Houston's Janeth Arcain and Seattle's Sandy Brondello.
Go Your Own WayThe city of Cleveland may be home to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame (Fleetwood Mac was inducted in 1998), but it is no longer home to the Cleveland Rockers. But the fans of Clevelands’ loss is the rest of the WNBA’s gain. Thanks to the 2004 WNBA Dispersal Draft, many teams gained a valuable addition to their rosters.
Penny Taylor was selected first by the Phoenix Mercury.
Chasity Melvin (right) will be in the frontcourt for the Washington Mystics this season.
The San Antonio Silver Stars added former top overall pick LaToya Thomas.
Complete 2004 Dispersal Draft Recap
The WarriorSome of the toughest WNBA players suffered serious injuries in 2003 that either knocked them out of action or severely limited their effectiveness, but like return to glory of rocker Patty Smyth in recent years, they will be back with a vengeance.
New York Liberty point guard Becky Hammon (right) played only 11 games in 2003 before going down with a torn ACL.
A healthy Sue Bird returns to the Seattle Storm lineup after rehabbing a sore knee that bothered her all of last season.
Chamique Holdsclaw missed seven games down the stretch last season, but is one of the best players in the league when healthy.
Storm center Kamila Vodichkova missed the final two weeks at the end of last season with a sprained foot, but recovered to play a full season overseas this winter.
The Sky is the LimitWhy not add some new players to the game? The Year of the Rookie is upon us. The Class of 2004 is deeper and more talented than any rookie class in league history, and could play a significant role in re-shaping the WNBA standings. Hopefully they will have a longer career than the Notorious B.I.G.
As expected, Diana Taurasi (right) was chosen first and is the anointed leader and savior in Phoenix.
2004 Wooden Award Winner Alana Beard will immediately start for a talented Washington Mystics team.
The Charlotte Sting chose Nicole Powell while Lindsay Whalen joins the Connecticut Sun.
2004 WNBA Draft Results
Movin' OutIn with the new, so out with the... old? With the addition of the new players to the circle, others have to go. Some of the WNBA's biggest names have decided to call it a career and move on...
Four-time WNBA champion Cynthia Cooper (right) was unable to fully recover from last season's shoulder injury and chose to retire.
Charter WNBA player Rebecca Lobo played for the Liberty, the Comets and the Sun in her career, and now joins NBA TV as an analyst.
Former All-Star and San Antonio Silver Stars guard Jennifer Azzi also announced her retirement in the offseason and will concentrate full-time on her fitness company.
Leader of the PackOf the 13 WNBA teams, four will feature new head coaches in 2004, three of whom have extensive NBA experience.
Former WNBA coach and NBA player Dee Brown (right) takes the reins for the San Antonio Silver Stars.
Ex-Bullets guard Michael Adams hopes to make new magic with the Washington Mystics.
Brian Winters controls the Indiana Fever.
Carrie Graf will help the Phoenix Mercury to rise.