Minnesota Lynx Acquire Christi Thomas from LA

The Minnesota Lynx today announced that they have executed a sign-and-trade deal with the Los Angeles Sparks, acquiring forward Christi Thomas in exchange for center Vanessa Hayden-Johnson. Hayden-Johnson entered the offseason as a restricted free agent.

Thomas joins the Lynx having averaged 5.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game in her five-year career. Thomas' best season came in 2007 when in 34 games, including 19 starts, she averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 18.8 mpg. In 2007, Thomas ranked ninth in the WNBA in rebounds per 40 minutes (11.2 rpg) and ranked 10th in field goal percentage (48.1 percent). For her career, Thomas is a 30.3 percent (20-of-66) three-point shooter. Los Angeles originally drafted Thomas with the 12th overall selection in the 2004 WNBA Draft.

"We're really excited about the versatility that Christi brings to our roster," said Lynx Executive Vice President Roger Griffith. "When given the opportunity, Christi has proven she can help a team with her ability to shoot the ball and defend in the post. Christi adds more experience to our roster and will fill a role in Coach Zierden's offensive scheme. We thank Vanessa for what she's added to our organization the last five years and we wish her the best of luck in Los Angeles."

From 2004-06, Thomas made three consecutive playoff appearances with the Sparks. In 2004, Thomas played in three games, all starts, averaging 8.0 points and 7.7 rebounds. In 10 career playoff games, Thomas holds averages of 6.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in 24.5 mpg.

Playing behind Olympians Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie, Thomas appeared in 20 regular-season games in 2008 with the Sparks, averaging 1.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in 8.0 minutes per game.

"Christi Thomas adds a tremendous amount of versatility to our team,' said Lynx head coach Don Zierden. "We feel her experience in the playoffs will be a huge benefit to our young and talented roster as we look to take that next step."

In 123 career games with the Lynx, spanning four seasons, Hayden-Johnson totaled career averages of 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 13.6 mpg. In 2008, Hayden-Johnson averaged 5.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 10.1 mpg. The Lynx originally drafted Hayden-Johnson with the seventh overall selection of the 2004 WNBA Draft. Hayden-Johnson sat out the entire 2007 season due to the birth of her first child.